Teenager spared jail after ‘flipping’ stolen car in Bedford police chase

Luton Crown Court
Luton Crown Court

A teenager who flipped over a stolen car when he was chased by police in Bedford early on a Christmas Day morning has avoided going to jail.

Kyle Johnson, now 19, had to wait nearly two years before he was sentenced following the three-minute high-speed pursuit on 25 December 2018.

On Friday (6 November), Luton crown court heard that somebody else had stolen the silver Vauxhall Meriva had been stolen from an address in Bedford in the early hours of Christmas Eve that year.

Prosecutor Jai Patel said the Meriva’s number plates were changed and, at 1 am on Christmas Day, Johnson was driving it when he struck a taxi in Bedford.

The taxi driver gave the police the number plate and it was seen 4o minutes later in Queensbury Close with its headlights on.

“When the police approached the Meriva it drove off. The police followed with their blue lights on. It went into Hurst Road and then onto Bromham Road.

“An officer estimated it reached 100 miles per hour when the speed limit was 30,” said the prosecutor.

Johnson, who had a teenage woman passenger with him, drove onto the bypass and headed towards Kempston breaking the 60 mph limit.

He drove the wrong way around the third roundabout he reached, clipped the kerb and flipped over the car, which skidded for 10 to 15 yards.

He and the girl were pulled out by the officers and Johnson, who had never passed a driving test, was arrested.

Johnson, now of Common Road, Kensworth, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking. He had no previous convictions, reprimands or cautions.

Defending, Minal Raj said he had been arrested in December 2018 and was bailed for a month by the police. When the month was over the police told him matters still had to be decided.

“There was no explanation for the delay. The first proceeding were on 20 June this year. There has been just under two years’ delay until today.”

Ms Raj said: “He is a young man who acted completely out of character. He was young, naive and immature. He is genuinely remorseful.”

She said he had been working until he lost his job as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He had been helping out at stables near hedger home since then.

Recorder James Wood QC told him: “It was a disgraceful piece of dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking. It is an absolute miracle no-one was killed.”

He passed a 12-month sentence suspended for two years. He must carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work and complete 30 days on a rehabilitation programme.

In addition, he has six months to pay £500 compensation each to the woman passenger, the taxi driver and the owner of the Meriva.

The judge also banned him from driving for 2 years saying he must take an extended test before he obtains a full licence.

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