TWO men have been sentenced for their roles in a violent, two-vehicle A69 chase which left oncoming motorists taking desperate evasive action.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how bailiffs went to the Hallbankgate home of 34-year-old James Nelson in connection with the repossession of a car on April 1.
Nelson was present with 36-year-old Gavin McCormick although neither knew the two other men were bailiffs as they had no identification nor official uniforms, while Nelson was concerned about a previous incident which left his partner distressed.
Because the repossession car was absent and one man was seen holding a brick, the bailiffs drove away.
So, too, did a Ford Focus with McCormick at the wheel and angry Nelson a back seat passenger. There was an initial collision between the respective vehicles, which drove aggressively at high speed and, the court heard, appeared to one onlooker to be “trying to ram each other off the road”. Passenger Nelson hurled bricks which didn’t connect and swung a stick as the journey continued.
As the cars crossed into the opposite carriageway, oncoming motorists were forced to take desperate evasive action: swerving, braking and flashing lights.
One shocked eyewitness called police, was left “shaking” and later said: “It was only the reactions of other drivers which stopped a serious accident.”
McCormick, of Stainton Gardens, Etterby, Carlisle, admitted dangerous driving and Nelson, of Crossgates Road, Hallbankgate, pleaded guilty to affray.
After hearing mitigation and personal details, Judge Julie Clemitson gave both men suspended 16-month jail terms, and rehabilitation requirements.
McCormick must also complete a night-time curfew, was also banned from driving for a year and must pass an extended test.
Nelson must complete unpaid work.
Judge Clemitson said the pair’s criminal conduct “beggars belief”, and concluded: “It is astonishing that an accident didn’t happen and that people weren’t injured as a result of your combined behaviour.”