A 17-YEAR-OLD disqualified driver who sped away from police, leading to a chase through a busy town, has been handed a suspended sentence and banned from driving for three years.
Jerry Harty was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Friday, when he was also ordered to take a diversionary scheme to engage with rehabilitation activity for 20 days in a bid to get him to change his ways.
Harty’s driving was so dangerous - with excessive speed, driving on the wrong side of the road, and travelling the wrong way around a roundabout - that police had to call off their pursuit.
However, officers from Dyfed-Powys Police refused to let him get away with it.
They continued to patrol the area and spoke to a member of public who had seen a car matching the description of Harty’s turn down towards Freystrop.
Officers followed that route and found Harty, now aged 18, of Pantyblawd Caravan Site, Swansea Enterprise Park, near his black Peugeot 308, where he had attempted to dump the car and its keys.
PS Paul Owen-Williams said: “Harty is a young, inexperienced and was already a disqualified driver.
“His driving on that day was dangerous and could so easily had resulted in a serious collision.
“He thought he could get away with it, and denied any involvement in the incident, trying to blame someone else for his actions, and pleading not guilty at earlier hearings.
“But I’m pleased our officers, through tenacious efforts and good police work, were able to get the evidence needed to make him change his plea to guilty.”
The incident, on October 9, 2021, started when officers attempted to pull over Harty’s car just prior to Salutation Square roundabout in Haverfordwest.
Harty, who was previously disqualified from driving in 2018 and had never held a full driving licence, did not stop. He continued to drive, initially in a highway code compliant manner, onto the roundabout and took the exit onto Freemans Way.
With police still in pursuit, with lights and sirens on, Harty then moved into the oncoming lane and started overtaking vehicles at speed, forcing his way through traffic towards the Merlins Bridge Roundabout.
He has then taken the second exit onto the A4076 towards Johnston where the lights were on red and has gone the wrong way around the ‘keep left’ bollard at the main traffic lights, next to the turn to go onto Old Hakin road, forcing a member of the public to slam on their breaks.
The then carried back onto the correct side of the road and continued at speed out on the A4076 towards Johnston. He was seen doing 60mph in a 30mph zone.
Harty continued to overtake vehicles and force his way through traffic and is then sighted doing 90mph as his car entered the 50mph zone towards Johnston.
As he came to the roundabout at Johnston, Harty went the wrong way around it, again, forcing people to stop and move to avoid getting hit.
Due to the risk posed to members of the public from the driver, officers have called the pursuit off.
Once officers tracked him down he was arrested and later charged with failing to stop, driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance, dangerous driving and driving otherwise in accordance of a licence.
After pleading guilty to these offences at a previous hearing he was sentenced on Friday and received a 27-week custodial sentence, suspended for one year, ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work, to engage with rehabilitation activity for 20 days and disqualified from driving for three years.
PS Owen-Williams added: “We’re pleased with the sentence and we hope it serves as a warning to anyone considering driving in such a foolish, reckless way.
“It is only down to luck that no-one was seriously hurt that day.”