Drunk van driver dragged police officers along road

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A DRUNKEN van driver who panicked when he was stopped by two police officers drove off when they attempted to take the keys from the ignition, dragging the officers across two lanes of traffic.

As the officers held on to the side of the van, they were also dragged over a footpath and only fell off when the vehicle struck a wall.

Sitting in Edinburgh yesterday, Sheriff Isabella McColl described the action of 27-year-old Jamie McCormack as “one of the worst examples of dangerous driving I have heard”.

McCormack, a prisoner at Saughton, had pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, having no insurance and being almost two-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit, having 82 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of his breath when the legal limit is 35.

Fiscal depute Dev Kapadia told the court that the incident began around 9.30pm on the evening of June 8 this year.

Constables Mark Muir and Neil Grieve had been alerted to the way the blue Transit van was being driven and had stopped their mobile patrol car in the middle of Broughton Road.

They signalled for the van to stop using the flashing lights and siren. However, when they tried to remove the keys from the ignition, McCormack drove off at speed, dragging the officers along.

After they had fallen off, McCormack was pursued by another police car. He reached speeds of more than 50mph, failed to stop at junctions and drove through a red light.

Other vehicles had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

The chase ended when McCormack abandoned the van in Ballantyne Road. He ran off but was caught after a brief chase by officers on foot.

Defence solicitor Carol Gowans admitted it had been an extremely bad and dangerous piece of driving.

Her client, she said, had problems with drugs, but in this instance it was alcohol. When he was initially stopped, she said he panicked and drove off.

Sheriff McColl told McCormack he was lucky he was only facing road traffic charges.

She said: “It was more good luck than anything else that the police were not seriously injured and very fortunate that you did not injure other people.”

She jailed McCormack for a total of 12 months, disqualified him from driving for two years and ordered that he re-sit the extended driving tests at the end of his disqualification.