Prison and 10-year ban for driver who almost ran over policeman

A regular offender from Lerwick nearly ran over a policeman on Christmas Day after a high-speed chase through the town in heavy snow.

Steven Nicholson, 22, of Park Lane, Lerwick, did not even have a provisional driving licence and his car was not roadworthy. He spent the rest of the Christmas and New Year period in custody and at Lerwick Sheriff Court today he was returned to jail, this time for 226 days, and banned from driving for 10 years.

Nicholson also admitted possessing heroin at the police station in Lerwick on 3rd February. The court heard he gone back on the drug since the driving incident after being clean for a short while.

Relating the events of the car chase, procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the weather was so bad that the on-duty police officers had been told only to patrol around Lerwick. At 2am they saw Nicholson driving at speed along King Harald Street and followed him as he turned up Burgh Road and accelerated away from them, doing over 45mph in the treacherous conditions. He narrowly avoided losing control of the car and hitting parked cars in Gilbertson Road, but once he turned down into Hayfield Lane he spun off into a driveway.

One officer went towards the driver’s door and his partner made to go for the other side where a passenger was sitting. Nicholson frantically revved the car to try to free it from the deep snow and as the police officer passed the front of the car it lurched forward and he had to spring to safety by pushing against the bonnet. His colleague managed to get the driver’s door open and switch off the engine. An inspection of the car concluded it was not fit to be on the road.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client would not deliberately run over a police officer but he admitted his conduct had been reckless. It emerged that he had been disqualified from driving in the past.

Nicholson was out in his car that night because his friend had asked for a run home to the West Side.

Mr Allan pleaded for him to be spared jail, particularly because he had to help his sick mother.

But Sheriff Graeme Napier was determined to drive home a message to Nicholson that he hoped would finally get through. Jailing him, he said he hoped he would be capable of avoiding heroin while inside. Imposing the 10-year driving ban, he said the public needed to be protected.


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