The actions of Yahya Ismail, from Gibbs Road in Lye, Stourbridge, were described by a judge as “one of the worst cases of dangerous driving I have had to deal with for some time”, after he heard how the 21-year-old’s BMW and the police car both spun and hit the crash barrier, leaving the M42 blocked.
Prosecutor Glyn Samuel said that at 9.35pm on December 28 last year, the police saw a BMW driven by Ismail heading out of Leamington on the A452.
It had only one working headlight and the front number plate was on the dashboard. As the officers began to follow it to pull it over, they saw the brake lights were permanently on.
As Ismail, who had only a provisional licence, increased his speed to 50mph in the 40mph zone, they put their blue light on to get him to pull over.
Along Banbury Road he accelerated to 70mph as he headed onto the M40 at Junction 14 where, Mr Samuel pointed out, as a learner driver he was not permitted to go.
Pursued by the police, Ismail, reached speeds of up to 90mph as he headed along the M40 in the rain, using the hard shoulder at times to get past other traffic.
When he reached junction 3a he joined the M42 heading north, but came off at Junction 4, went all the way round the island and headed back south.
Ismail then stayed on the M42 and as he headed towards Junction 3 he was overtaking and undertaking other vehicles as he tried to evade the police.
By then there were three police cars involved in the pursuit, and as Ismail straddled the first lane and the hard shoulder, one of them began to overtake, but he veered across in front of it, almost hitting it.
“At Junction 3 a police vehicle was in the lead so they could box him in, and stingers had been placed on the slip road.
“He switched lane as the officers tried to box him in and hit the off-side of a police vehicle at 85mph, causing the police vehicle to spin and hit the crash barrier.”
The police car and Ismail’s BMW both ended up strewn across the carriageway, blocking the road. The officer suffered a whiplash injury which kept her off work for three weeks.
Ismail, who had no previous convictions, was arrested, and a blood test showed he had more than twice the legal limit of cannabis in his system, added Mr Samuel.
Brad Lawlor, defending, conceded: “There is very little to say about the offence itself. This was a protracted incident of extremely bad driving.”
Mr Lawlor said Ismail had only recently bought the BMW, and “took it for a drive to clear his head” following the death of a friend from cancer the previous day.
He added that Ismail lives with his parents, and has been offered a job in Saudi Arabia with his cousin who runs a property business.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told him: “You had purchased a motor vehicle you were not licensed to drive and not insured to drive.
“You were seen by the police in Leamington, and you panicked and set off along the M40. You carried on placing other people at risk on the motorway. It was dark and it was raining, and you were driving in excess of the speed limit.
“Then you drove into the rear of-side of a police vehicle, deliberately causing it to spin. Had that officer died, the charge you would have been facing would have been very serious indeed.
“This was very dangerous driving over a long period. Officers and other road-users were put at risk. This is so serious that it must be a sentence of custody.”
Jailing Ismail for 14 months, Judge Lockhart added: “This is one of the worst cases of dangerous driving I have had to deal with for some time.”
Ismail was also disqualified for three years and two months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, having no insurance or full licence and driving with over the legal limit of cannabis.