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Dudley dad jailed for two years after 100mph police chase
1:00pm Wednesday 20th November 2013 in Local
A DUDLEY dad has been jailed for nearly two years after leading cops on a dangerous 100mph chase on the M5 motorway with his three young children in the car before the dramatic pursuit finally ended in Hagley.
Jason Thomas, aged 33, from Blowers Green Road, Dudley, weaved in and out of traffic at high speed as he travelled northbound from Worcester, even swerving onto the hard shoulder to undertake lorries in his desperate bid to get away.
The chase only came to a end when he ran a red light on the A491 at Hagley and smashed into the side of a Toyota.
Judge Michael Cullum said Thomas had endangered the lives of "hundreds" of people, along with his own family, as he jailed him for 18 months for dangerous driving.
He also gave him four months for driving while disqualified, to run consecutively, and disqualified him from driving for another ten years - although that had repeatedly failed to stop him in the past.
Worcester Crown Court was shown a video recorded from camera on board the police car in pursuit, which revealed police initially flashed their lights at Thomas, who was driving a silver Vauxhall Vectra, as they suspected he may have drugs on board.
But he accelerated away and began driving erratically, reaching speeds of more than 100mph.
He eventually left the motorway at junction four for Bromsgrove, and after careering the full circuit of the roundabout began to speed along the A491 Stourbridge Road.
When he reached a crossroads, he simply sped through the red light - and straight into the side of a car carrying a man and his 80-year-old mother.
Thomas - who was also driving while disqualified and without insurance - made a last-ditch bid to escape by running away on foot, leaving his family behind, but was tackled to the floor by one of the officers.
Judge Cullum told him it had been an "appalling" piece of driving.
He said: "The length of the driving episode itself is shocking. The high speed while undertaking on the hard shoulder is shocking.
"All the while, you were putting at risk of serious injury or worse, hundreds of people.
"In some ways, the most shocking thing about the whole episode was when, having crashed, the rear door of your vehicle opened and out stretched the young arm of your child.
"What sort of person drives like that with their own three children and their partner in that vehicle?
"You then left that vehicle. You didn't wait to see how the people in the other vehicle were - you didn't care about that.
"You even ran away from your own family.
"There was an extraordinary catalogue of disregard for everybody's life - those dear to you, and those unknown to you."
The court heard it was Thomas's sixth conviction for dangerous driving, and that he also had 11 previous convictions for driving while disqualified.
Judge Cullum said the maximum sentence of two years seemed inappropriate for the nature of Thomas' offences, but said he was obliged to give him credit for pleading guilty.