AN ‘IMPETUOUS’ man from Rugby stole a van and deliberately drove it into a police car and across a busy pedestrian crossing – all while over the drink-driving limit.
Dale Taylor had pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified, driving with excess alcohol and carrying passengers in a manner likely to cause injury.
But Taylor, 24, of Wentworth Road, Rugby, was given a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years by a judge at Warwick Crown Court.
He was ordered to take part in a rehabilitation activity for 40 days and a six-month alcohol treatment programme, banned from driving for three years and ordered to pay £670 costs.
Prosecutor Anthony Cartin said that in July a Transit van was stolen with £8,000 of tools in it.
The following day police saw the van – with Taylor driving and passengers in the back where there were no seat belts – in Nuneaton.
They tried to stop him, but he drove into the police car to get past it.
He then drove through two sets of red lights and across a pedestrian crossing while there were people on it.
He swerved to avoid a cyclist and clipped the wing mirrors of two cars before abandoning the van and running off.
He was caught, and a breath test showed he was over the legal alcohol limit, but he gave ‘no comment’ replies when he was then interviewed.
Mr Cartin added that Taylor had a conviction for wounding in 2014, and had been disqualified for drink-driving in October last year.
Justin Jarmola, defending, said there were two reasons the court could suspend the sentence.
He said the first was Taylor’s father has leukaemia, and without Taylor he would not be able to keep their roofing business afloat.
“The second matter is that Dale Taylor has a significant problem with alcohol.
“He’s had custody before, and he will cope with it again, but it’s not going to go to the heart of the matter.
“If he was to be given the opportunity to engage in the alcohol treatment programme, there’s a chance he will never appear before the courts again,” submitted Mr Jarmola.
Sentencing Taylor, Recorder Christopher Bright told him: “You quite obviously have a problem with alcohol and with impetuous conduct. You do things without thinking about them.
“These matters are clearly so serious that the custody threshold is passed.
“You were in a stolen Ford Transit, and when you were seen by the police you deliberately collided with their vehicle and embarked on a course of dangerous driving for ten minutes.
“When you drive in this manner it is only a matter of luck for you and for others if no-one is injured or even killed.
“You thoroughly deserve to go to prison. What gives me pause for thought is your age and that your offending has happened over a relatively short period of time.
“I am prepared to give you a last chance, but you must understand it is a last chance.
“If you commit a further offence in that two-year period, you will be out of the blocks with 15 months to start with, or if you breach the order the sentence may also be activated.
“In addition, you will pay the costs, not least to give you less money to spend on drink.”