Lengthy ban for teenager who drove like ‘an absolute maniac’

A teenager who led police on a wild high speed pursuit before abandoning the car in “atrocious” weather has been banned from the road.

The coastguard was called in to try track down Daniel Johnson, from Sullom, after he ditched his partner’s car following the pursuit last month.

The 19-year-old had previously admitted five offences, including dangerous driving, at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank told him he had driven “like an absolute maniac” when he returned for sentencing today (Wednesday).

The court heard last month the teenager led police on a high speed chase – with the weather so horrendous that trained roads officers had to call the pursuit off.

Johnson was already disqualified from driving at the time, following a previous conviction. 

But that did not deter him from taking his partner’s car without her permission or knowledge.

During the pursuit officers were travelling at 90mph, but still failed to close the gap to him.

They lost sight of him at the East Voe junction, but flagged down another driver who told them he was headed towards Tronda.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the accused was driving so fast his car could be seen veering back and forth across the carriageway due to the road conditions and high winds.

He later abandoned the vehicle and ran into a field, during torrential rain and high winds.

Due to concerns for his safety, a 15-person coastguard team was mustered to find him – but stood down after he agreed to hand himself in.

Defence agent Tommy Allan admitted it was “an appalling piece of driving”.

“He should never have been driving in the first place,” he said.

The sheriff told him he had put his own life, and the lives of the police and public in danger.

He banned him from driving for 32 months and ordered him to sit the extended test of competence to get his licence back.

Johnson was also placed under supervision for two years and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work in the next 12 months.


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