Van man overtook cops on danger drive

Mansfield Magistrates Court

Mansfield Magistrates Court

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A British Gas worker who overtook an unmarked police car while driving dangerously told officers he was late.

Jordan Robert Simpson, 28, of Church Road, Clipstone Village, denied driving dangerously and using a mobile phone while driving at Mansfield Magistrates Court on January 12, but he was found guilty on March 17.

Robert Carr prosecuting, said two plainclothes officer became aware of a British Gas van driving close behind them and manoeuvring to overtake on the A616, near Caunton, at 1pm on August 21 last year.

Mr Carr said: “The van over took the police car and the vehicle in front. When another car came around the bend in front it cut back causing cars to break.”

Simpson then overtook a second vehicle in a way which the officers later described as ‘unsafe’ and ‘reckless’.

The officers at first thought the van was stolen and followed as it attempted to overtake another car.

Simpson turned left and went on to the grass verge, before veering from side to side ‘as if looking for an opportunity to overtake on a lane with lots of bends and very few overtaking opportunities’, said Mr Carr.

The van ‘accelerate hard’ through a ford before reaching the A614 junction, where the officers were able to see that Simpson was ‘holding a mobile phone and appeared to be looking at the screen.’

They saw him check his phone again when he stopped at the B6034/B6030 junction at Edwinstowe, and at this point the officers challenged him.

Mr Carr said: “Mr Simpson appeared to be oblivious to his driving and told officers he was late for his next appointment and was trying to make up time.”

When interviewed he maintained that his driving was not dangerous.

Amy Godson, mitigating, said Simpson was of previous good character and had been made redundant from British Gas because of cutbacks after five years’ service.

She said he had since found a new job, and had taken out a loan for a new vehicle, but he was bound to lose it because of the inevitable disqualification.

The court heard he also cared for his disabled mother as his father worked away a lot.

She said: “He is now unemployed. He has been working since he was 16 and is eager to get back to work.

“This was not a scenario where there was a police chase. Officers in an unmarked car simply observed him and stopped him and spoke to him.”

Magistrates said they were impressed by the character references provided, but said his driving ‘crossed the threshold for custody.’

He was sentenced to 12 weeks, suspended for 12 months, and banned for 18 months. He was ordered to retake his test if he wanted to regain his license.

He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £80 and court costs of £385.