AN Alcester man has been jailed after driving a Transit van through residential areas at up to 70mph during the middle of the day, whist one of his passengers screamed in terror.

Daniel Whittaker told police he had taken ‘stupid risks’ and could have killed someone as he tried flee from officers who were trying to stop him.

Whittaker, 31, of Avon Crescent, Alcester, was jailed for nine months and banned from driving for two years when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court.

Earlier, he pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, having no licence and driving without insurance.

Prosecutor Jason Pegg said that on July 11 the police were on the look-out for a white Transit van when they saw it heading along the A46 towards Evesham at 11.45 in the morning.

The officers, who were in an unmarked car, put on their blue lights and siren, and pulled alongside the Transit.

The passengers, a man and a woman, gave them the thumbs-up -but the car then suddenly accelerated away and crossed the central reservation into the face on oncoming traffic.

He went the wrong way round a roundabout and headed at speed towards oncoming traffic and onto the A44.

With the police in pursuit, he drove along 40mph roads at 70, most of the time in the middle of the road or on the off-side, causing oncoming traffic to swerve.

As he headed into Evesham he continued to drive at 70 along residential roads, still in the middle or on the off-side of the road, and when he had to brake, smoke came from the wheels.

When he reached the junction with Worcester Road he went through traffic lights on red onto the of-side of the road, forcing other drivers to brake to avoid a collision.

Whittaker continued along the A4184 towards the town centre before turning sharply into St Egwin’s Road, a cul-de-sac with the entrance to St Mary’s Catholic primary school at the end of it.

He stopped and he and his passengers got out, and he made off on foot.

His passengers were detained at the scene, but Whittaker was not arrested until 11 days later.

Whilst in questioning he confirmed he had no licence or insurance and said: “I panicked; I was scared. I’ve been to prison three times, and didn’t want to go back.”

He told officers: “I made a mountain out of a molehill. The driving was crazy, horrific. I could have killed someone. I was taking stupid risks.”

Whittaker, had previous convictions for offences including taking vehicles and was jailed in February for failing to comply with a community order.

Mr Devine said that after serving his last sentence, Whittaker was determined to steer clear of alcohol and drug misuse and to repair his relationship with his family and moved back in with his parents.

He found employment and bought the van with a friend, with the aim of using it to do painting and decorating work, but panicked when the police tried to stop him because he had no licence.

Jailing Whittaker, Recorder William Mousley QC, said: “The time has come for you to start making your own decisions on how you live your life. The probation service has invested quite enough time and energy on you in the past.”