A former Army serviceman led police on a chase after ignoring instructions to pull over, before he smiled at officers as he rammed past their car to try to escape.
Swansea Crown Court heard how Nigel Dale Lewis was travelling at speed in Pencader town centre on October 19 last year when he was spotted by police, who followed him to carry out a routine check.
The officer driving the police car, constable Thomas, illuminated his lights and indicated for Lewis to stop, but he continued to drive at 40 to 50mph in a 20mph zone.
The officer moved his car into the centre of the road, but Lewis himself pulled into the centre of the road to stop the officer pulling alongside him.
Dyfed Powys Police’s road policing unit were informed, as Lewis continued to drive towards Carmarthen town centre.
The force decided to operate a ‘two car box approach’ to bring the vehicle to a halt at the area known locally as The Range roundabout, with one pulling in front of Lewis’s Skoda vehicle.
The 33-year-old, of Twyn Carmel, Merthyr Tydfil, then reversed down the dual carriageway in the wrong direction, before forcing his way through a gap between a barrier and the police car, causing him to collide with the front near side of the police car, taking its front wheel off. Whilst performing the manoeuvre, he smiled at police, the court heard.
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Lewis’s vehicle was eventually brought to a halt by officers who made three ‘tactical contacts’ with his vehicle, causing him to come to a complete stop.
The total amount of damage caused to the police vehicles was £15,295.27.
Lewis was arrested and detained, and told police he, “thought he would give a chase”.
There was £4,340 in a plastic bag discovered belonging to Lewis, which the court heard he was using to save up for a dog, whilst a snap bag containing 0.8 grams of cocaine was found underneath his foreskin.
Lewis appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing having previously pleaded guilty at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court to failing to stop a mechanically propelled vehicle when required by a constable, driving a motor vehicle dangerously, damaging property of a value unknown, driving a motor vehicle otherwise than in accordance with a licence, using a motor vehicle without third party insurance and possessing cocaine.
He was also in breach of bail for failing to attend Swansea Crown Court on December 18.
The court heard how Lewis spent six years serving in the Army before he was discharged, something that his solicitor, Martha Smith-Higgins, said put his life on a “downward spiral”.
“He describes acting like an idiot, he does not put it in any other terms,” Miss Smith-Higgins said.
Judge Huw Rees, sentencing Lewis, said: “It is said leaving the Army had a profound effect on you and you miss being part of the armed forces.
“Someone could have died as a result of this. It is lucky it was not more serious.
“The Army must have taught you a number of things. It did not teach you to drive in this way and disobey police officers.
“I’m prepared to give you a chance and I do so hoping you seek help for your issues.”
Lewis was sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He must complete a thinking skills programme, a 30 day rehabilitation activity requirement and 180 hours unpaid work. He has been banned from driving for a year.
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk