A speeding driver caused a head on crash after a "truly appalling" bid to escape from police. 

Benjamin Dowie, 42, had been driving a white Honda through Bolton at around 6.30pm on the evening of January 28 this year when police saw him on School Hill, Halliwell.

Bolton Crown Court heard he had neither a licence nor insurance when he led police on a high speed chase, which continued even after he hit another car.

Prosecutor Niamh McGinty said: “Despite that collision, he then managed to continue down Blackburn Road where he collided with a Mercedes vehicle.”

She added: “Thankfully no one was injured in the collision, including the occupants of the other car.

“The defendant however was taken to hospital as police found him to be unresponsive.”

Dressed in a dark blue shirt, Dowie looked on via video link from prison as Ms McGinty told the court how he reached speeds of up to 80mph in a bid to escape the officers.

Video footage showed him driving through red lights and at times he drove on the wrong side of the road before causing the crash on Blackburn Road, Astley Bridge.

Ms McGinty said: “It does appear that this defendant has never held a valid driving licence.”

The Bolton News: Fortunately, no one was badly injuredFortunately, no one was badly injured (Image: Newsquest)

She said that after officers took Dowie, who has 17 previous convictions for 45 offences, to hospital they began to suspect his unconsciousness was “perhaps deliberate.”

This, they suspected, was to avoid questioning.

But brought before the magistrates court Dowie, of Kent Court, Halliwell, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.

Kevin Liston, defending, said that Dowie deserved full credit for his guilty plea and pointed out that he had been in prison on remand for seven weeks already.

He said that the 42-year-old had shown “full acceptance of responsibility” for his actions.

The Bolton News: Benjamin Dowie had been trying to escape the policeBenjamin Dowie had been trying to escape the police (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Liston said: “There is no attempt to prevaricate or minimise his actions.”

He told the court that Dowie was a man with a “strong work ethic” who had endured a difficult upbringing but was determined to avoid further crimes in the future.

Mr Liston also pointed out the irony that Dowie had himself been injured by a dangerous driver several years ago.

But Recorder Alexandra Simmonds reminded the court of the “truly appalling driving” that got Dowie into his predicament.

Addressing the defendant directly, she said: “This was a prolonged effort to avoid the police on your part.”

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She added: “You of all people should understand what can occur, having been a victim of a dangerous driver yourself in the past and having been injured as a result.”

But Recorder Simmonds accepted that he had “panicked” after seeing the officers that evening and had shown “genuine remorse” since then.

She sentenced him to 14 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to complete a 12-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

Recorder Simmonds also ordered Dowie to complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days, a thinking skills programme, and banned him from driving for two years.