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Reading Magistrates' Court: He started by ramming a police car – then things got really wild in Newbury and Greenham

Officers forced to abandon car chase and let fleeing driver escape

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886628

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A POLICE car was rammed and other motorists were forced off the road during a high-speed car chase through Newbury and Greenham.

The fleeing driver notched up speeds of up to 80mph on rural back streets while driving on the wrong side of the road, forcing oncoming traffic to take avoiding action to avert a head-on collision.

Eventually police gave up the chase as they considered the risk to innocent road users was becoming too great.

In the dock at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday was Curtis Jay Wiltshire.

The 25-year-old, who lives at Craven Road, Inkpen, was initially spotted by police at the wheel of a yellow Vauxhall Corsa just after 10pm on Pigeons Farm Road in Greenham, but he failed to pull over when required..

Helen Gambrill, prosecuting, said that, at a junction with Thornford Road, police activated their lights and pulled in front of Mr Wiltshire, while another police vehicle stopped behind him, in an effort to block him in

She said he then reversed, ramming into the police car behind him before mounting the kerb and driving off at 80mph.

Ms Gambrill said: “He showed absolutely no regard for any other drivers around him.

“Several vehicles had to move off the carriageway.

“Approaching the junction with St Gabriel’s School, he was crossing over the white lines in the centre into the wrong lane, heading into oncoming traffic while in excess of the speed limit.”

The chase continued in streets including Burys Bank Road, Monks Lane, Essex Street and Wheatlands Lane, as Mr Wiltshire continued to overtake other vehicles in unlit, rural lanes, sometimes driving on the wrong side of the road at speed, the court heard.

At one point, as the roads became increasingly small, police made the decision to abandon the pursuit for the safety of the public, said Ms Gambrill.

She added: “The defendant’s driving was just too dangerous and officers didn’t want to continue driving at that speed.”

Mr Wiltshire admitted dangerous driving and driving without insurance on November 14 last year.

He also has previous convictions, magistrates were told, and had last offended one month prior to his arrest for these latest offences.

Ms Gambrill urged magistrates to consider sending the case to the crown court for sentencing.

Gianpaolo Damiani, defending, made no representations on behalf of his client and presiding magistrate Chris Juden said: “The facts of this case speak for themselves.

“Regarding the dangerous driving, this is as high as it gets.

“Given the severity of this offence we consider it is beyond our sentencing powers.

“We will decline further jurisdiction.”

Ms Gambrill then asked the court to impose an interim driving ban.

Mr Damiani said: “I make no observations about an interim ban because he will inevitably get a significant disqualification – therefore, the quicker he starts serving it, the better it will be for my client.”

Magistrates imposed the interim ban, which will last until Mr Wiltshire is sentenced on a date to be fixed at Reading Crown Court.

He was meanwhile released on unconditional bail.

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