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Driver went on 80mph suburban police chase with 12-year-old in passenger seat

By Marion Brennan | Smethwick | Crime | Published:

A motorist who led police on a dangerous chase through suburban streets at speeds of up to 80mph with a 12-year-old child in the passenger seat has been jailed.

An aerial view of Smethwick and some of the residential streets Reid-Watson raced through. Photo: Google

Andraias Reid-Watson, who had no insurance or road tax, panicked and sped off when a police car signalled for him to stop on New Year's Eve last year, it was said.

In a bid to shake off the officers, the 26-year-old drove on the wrong side of the road, veered the wrong way around traffic islands and narrowly missed smashing into other vehicles, including a bus, a court heard.

Mr Edward Soulsby, prosecuting, said the pursuit began just before 10pm and continued for several minutes covering a distance of more than three miles in and around Smethwick.

In dashcam footage from the pursuing police car shown to Wolverhampton Crown Court, the officers were heard struggling to keep up with the defendant's car as he raced through residential streets and on to busier main roads.

The route taken included Manor Road, Stony Lane, Londonderry Lane and Smethwick High Street.

The chase ended when Reid-Watson lost control of his vehicle and crashed into railings. He was arrested at the scene, the court heard.

Defending him, Ms Carina Clare said the defendant had been sofa-surfing after a relationship break-up. He had found it difficult to find a job and a stable home as a result and was dependent on friends to feed him and provide a place to stay.

The lack of a permanent address also meant he had lost contact with probation services. "His life had become chaotic," said Ms Clare.

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The court was told Reid-Watson was extremely remorseful. He had had a "complete change of outlook" since being taken into custody, and had been recommended as a candidate to mentor other prisoners, she added.

But Judge Amjad Nawaz told him it had been only a matter of luck that there had been no injury to other road users and pedestrians or any damage to anyone's property.

He said: "It would have taken only a moment's inattention for you to have collided with another motorist driving quite properly – with devastating consequences.

"If that wasn't bad enough, you put the life of a 12-year-old in the passenger seat in danger." He described the defendant's driving as "persistently dangerous."

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Reid-Watson, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on December 31 last year and to having no insurance or road tax.

He was sentenced to 10 months in prison and disqualified from driving for a total of 18 months excluding his time behind bars.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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