Smash driver’s leap to escape police

A VAN driver who hit a car then tried to escape police by leaping down a 10-ft embankment has avoided prison.

Luke Bergin, 21, of Shay Lane, Halifax, was said to have panicked when police began following his van in the early hours of May 16 last year.

Bradford Crown Court heard Bergin drove at speeds up to 60mph and went through red traffic lights.

Then he collided with another car being driven in Church Street, Halifax.

Prosecutor Michele Stuart-Lofthouse said his van also struck a traffic light post before hitting a wall near the entrance of Halifax railway station.

Bergin jumped down a 10-ft embankment, but he was chased by police and arrested.

He had claimed his driving had only been careless, but shortly before his trial was due to take place last month he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

The court heard the driver of the other vehicle suffered neck and back pains after the collision and was off work for two days.

Barrister Charlotte Eastwood, representing Bergin, said her client had been going through a bad period in his life at the time of the offence. She said he had since turned his life around significantly.

“He is seeking to put his life back on track and has learned a very harsh lesson from this incident,” she said.

Judge Rodney Grant said Bergin’s previous character had saved him from going to prison. He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for a year.

Bergin will have to complete 200 hours unpaid work and was banned from driving for 12 months.

He also has to pay costs of £500.

Bergin had appeared at Calderdale Magistrates’ Court the day before facing further driving matters. Bergin is said to have failed to stop after another accident, also on Church Street, Halifax. He also faces a charge of not reporting the incident, driving without insurance and driving without a relevant licence for the Citroen Berlingo. Those matters date back to October 18.

That case was adjourned until March 30.