Driver tried to ‘ram’ police off Crawley road – and drove at 70mph in 30mph zone

Police
Police

A dangerous driver tried to ‘ram’ police off a road in Crawley during a police chase which saw the motorist doing 70mph in a 30mph zone.

At Hove Crown Court on Thursday, Eli Cooper, 31, from South Coast Road, Peacehaven, and Tony Cooper, 26, from Selsfield Drive, Brighton, were sentenced for a string of crimes across East and West Sussex.

Among these was an incident on June 12 last year in Crawley.

According to prosecutor Giles Morrison, Eli was driving a Honda vehicle attached to an Ifor Williams trailer on Copthorne Road when police sergeant Glasspool began to pursue them, his suspicions being roused by a handwritten licence plate. Tony was in the passenger seat.

The vehicle began swerving side to side, straddling the central white line. Suddenly, the Honda broke away from the trailer and sped off, leaving it coasting down the road towards Crawley, Mr Morrison said.

Sergeant Glasspool pursued the Honda, which by this point was driving down Balcombe Road at 70mph, he claimed – way over the 30mph limit, the court heard.

The Honda drove over a mini-roundabout without breaking, still at 70mph, and went to the right of a keep left bollard in an attempt to get away from the sergeant.

As the pursuit continued, the vehicle suddenly braked and reversed at speed towards the police car, forcing the sergeant to swerve out of their path with the Honda narrowly missing him, the prosecution said.

Mr Morrison said: “The officer believed the defendants were trying to ram his vehicle off the road.”

The chase continued until Eli and Tony got out of the vehicle near Lawrence Close and scaled a 6ft fence into a residential back garden.

One of the defendants was arrested 30 minutes later, and the second was located by sniffer dogs when they arrived at the scene, Mr Morrison said.

Eli was charged with theft and dangerous driving, and Tony was charged with theft and aiding and abetting dangerous driving.

Defending Eli and Tony, Alexandra Scott described the incident as ‘unpleasant’. She said that Eli, who has been in custody since his latest arrest, has been taking Spice, a ‘very destructive drug’, in prison. She said he ‘wasn’t getting the help he needed’ on the inside but was cooperating with Pavilions drug and alcohol service in Brighton, which was willing to offer him a detox programme.

She added that Tony was also ‘supremely motivated’ to carry out drug rehabilitation but was otherwise now in a stable relationship and training to become a plumber.

For all of his crimes, Judge David Rennie sentenced Eli to a two-year community order, with a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement. He has to go on a thinking skills programme, and was disqualified from driving for 18 months.

For his crimes, Tony was sentenced to 21 months in prison, suspended for two years, a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement, a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement, and was disqualified from driving for 18 months.