A dangerous driver banned from driving 39 times blamed the police for the crashes he caused when caught for the 40th time after a high speed chase.
Andrew Bage, 46, led police on a 28-minute, 10-mile, high-speed pursuit - crashing into a police car, twice driving on the wrong side of the road and reaching speeds of 70mph in 30mph zones.
Three police teams, a police helicopter and metal stinger were deployed to catch Bage after he left the Mermaid Pub in Bridlington where he had been drinking on New Year’s Eve.
He already had a record of 211 convictions - 39 driving while disqualified and 39 for driving with no insurance. When stopped by police, uninsured Bage claimed he did not know he was banned and told a probation offer they were to blame for the high-speed chase and damaging their own cars. His car had five beer bottles inside and a bottle of wine after he had been for a drink. He refused to give a specimen of breath. He was run to ground in a farm yard leaving his pet dog and a woman in his vehicle as he tried to escape yet another driving ban.
Recorder Graeme Cook, told Bage: “This is one of the most serious cases of dangerous driving I have ever come across. I have seen your record. It is appalling. There are 39 convictions for driving while disqualified. I am not going to decide the issue of whether or not you thought you were disqualified at the time of this offence. I have read your pre-sentence report. There is no remorse shown whatsoever. You seek to justify your actions and you put blame on the police.”
Despite pleading guilty to his 40th offence of driving while disqualified – the judge did use his discretionary power to take away his licence for good.
Crown barrister Geraldine Kelly said the police were called to the Mermaid Pub at just after midnight on January 1 to a report a man who had been drinking had got in a Vauxhall Astra van. “The police put on their blue lights and requested him to stop. This he did not do. He drove at 50mph in a 30mph limited towards Driffield. He then drove through the village of Bessingby, Carnaby, Haisthorpe and Burton Agnes at speeds of 70mph. On two occasions he drove on the wrong side of the road. When he came to junctions he did not slow down and went straight around.”
She said when he arrived in Great Kelk he drove in to a field where he completed a 180 degree turn to escape a police attempt to corner him. He denied deliberately reversing into a police car. He admitted stopping sharply so the police car went in to the back of his van. He then drove away pulling the bumper of the police car. Having collided with the vehicle he drove off in the direction of Foston on the Wolds and hit 70mph on the B1249 driving through North Froddingham and Beeford before turning back onto the A165 north back towards Bridlington. He avoided a stinger device placed at Beeford. A marked police BMW then took up the chase on the A165 where Bage drove at 60-65mph through Beeford.
The police car was forced to abandon pursuit down narrow lanes as the police helicopter arrived on the scene tracking Bage back to Great Kelk. He had severely damaged the front wheel of his car and ground to halt in a farm yard leaving and female passenger and a dog.
Bage of Main Street, Beeford, pleaded guilty to a charge of driving dangerously, driving while disqualified and having no insurance and appeared at Hull Crown Court for sentence on May 2 via video link from Hull Prison.
Defence barrister Paul Genney said: “Mr Bage is not unintelligent. He has a fairly rebellious nature and is a little unconventional. He went out for a drink on New Year’s Eve and said he was not aware he was disqualified from driving. It maybe he was putting his head in the sand. He certainly took a risk. When he saw the blue lights he made a bad decision and set off in his car. A helicopter followed him and he was brought to ground and dealt with summarily. He has no complaint about that. Rather than accept the inevitable he tried to avoid the police. He accepts he has an unenviable record of previous convictions. However, his last driving offence was six years ago in 2007. His last conviction of any kind was in March 2011. With a record like his there is always going to be some slip ups.” He said he was now working as a landscape gardener and shepherd for a dozen lambs he has on a small holding.
His previous convictions include: car theft, aggravated vehicle taking and reckless driving.
Sentencing, Recorder Graeme Cook told Bage: “It is quite clear the driving was extremely serious. It was highly dangerous. You were pursued by three different police vehicles and the police helicopter. You were driving through villages far in excess of the speed limit. The incident lasted 28 minutes and went on for 9.7 miles. There was damage to the police car where you braked suddenly and then went in to the back. After that you made off again. A BMW police car joined the pursuit. You were driving on the wrong side of the road. The public would be appalled if I did not impose a custodial sentence.” He jailed Bage for 15 months, disqualified him from driving for four years and order he should pay a £100 victim surcharge. When the judge told him the surcharge would need to be paid within 18 months. Bage defiantly replied: Not by me.”