Man, 22, handed a suspended sentence after speeding across Felsted school field and hitting parked car

Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex. Picture: Lucy Taylor

Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex. Picture: Lucy Taylor - Credit: Lucy taylor

A 22-year-old man who sped across a school field in Felsted before being chased by police for more than half an hour has narrowly avoided prison.

Levi Wilson, who lives in Pattiswick, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance and driving without a licence as well as dangerous driving.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard earlier today that on March 13 this year, Wilson had driven a white Ford Transit van across ground at Felsted School, in Braintree Road, before being spotted by a marked police car.

The van had previously been stolen, with its number plates and vehicle identification number changed.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, said: “The vehicle was driving at an inappropriate speed and at times was air born. It came out on the road in front of the police car and bounced across the pavement onto the road making the tyres smoke.

“The police turned on the blue lights and sirens, but the vehicle started to drive away and sped past the school and swerving between parked and moving vehicles.”

Wilson soon hit a parked car, damaging its passenger side, before turning into Garnetts Lane.

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“At one point, he slowed and stopped because of a parked car, but the driver changed gear into reverse and went into the front of the police car, ramming it twice.”

Wilson then sped through Great Leighs, mounting a verge to overtake a tractor, and then headed into Black Notley with a police helicopter also on his tail.

The van then drove round a roundabout the wrong way before coming to rest in an industrial estate where Wilson was arrested.

“This was a foolish act which fortunately did not result in any injuries or serious damage to other vehicles or road users,” Janaka Siriwardena, told the court in mitigation.

He added: “This was a spur of the moment act and he had had a row with his girlfriend where she decided to terminate the relationship and take up with his best friend.”

Mr Recorder I Evans also heard a statement from Braintree Van Sales, where Wilson works part-time, which said he was a hard-working employee.

It added: “The incident was totally out of character and we have in excess of 70 vehicles and he could have driven any one, but he never did.”

Sentencing, Mr Evans said: “It’s a borderline decision, but weighing the factors up then the scales come down, not heavily, but gently, in favour of a suspended sentence.

“You have come close to going down those stairs and not coming out for a period time.”

Wilson was handed a one-year suspended sentence for 18 months.

He must also complete 20 days of rehabilitation and 120 hours of unpaid work.