Brierfield horror smash: driver behind bars

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Haji Ahmed (29) had pulled out in front of an officer in a marked police vehicle in Colne Road - the main street - in Brierfield. He then overtook several cars and went on the wrong side of the road for 300m, forcing other vehicles to pull in to avoid him.

He clocked up at least 60 m.p.h. on the 30 m.p.h. road, went round a roundabout the wrong way, overtook some more and then lost control, spun 180 degrees and hit a wall, ending up jammed inside the Audi A4 in the late-night incident.

Ahmed, who has a record for dangerous driving and banned driving and has served time, then claimed he had not been at the wheel and did not need to give a breath test. The officer would say it was the worst piece of driving he had seen in eight years in the force and he was “genuinely shocked” by it.

The defendant, of Ross Street, Brierfield, admitted dangerous driving and excess alcohol on April 20th. He was locked up for eight months, banned for three years and must take an extended retest.

Mr David Macro (prosecuting) said, at 11-08pm, the officer was driving in Colne Road towards Nelson when Ahmed came out of a sidestreet in front of him.

The defendant travelled at more than 50 m.p.h. on the 30 m.p.h. stretch and was doing 60 m.p.h. as he reached the roundabout. He went round it anti-clockwise at more than 50 m.p.h. and headed for the town centre at more than 60 m.p.h. in Manchester Road. The officer, who had illuminated his blue lights and put on his emergency sirens, momentarily lost the vehicle and called for further patrols.

Mr Macro said the defendant then crashed, losing a wheel, and a passenger climbed out of a window. The defendant was detained, smelled of drink, was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. He told police: “I’m drunk. I wasn’t driving.” He complied with a breath test when asked a second time and it proved positive. Ahmed later gave a sample showing 51 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath - the legal limit is 35.

The prosecutor added that, when interviewed, Ahmed apologised, said what he had done was “totally out of the norm” for him and it had been a mistake.

Mr Martin Hackett (defending) said the dangerous driving was over a relatively short period. The barrister continued: “The defendant, throughout this period of bad driving, was not aware of the fact a police officer was following him in a vehicle. It wasn’t a police chase, but I have to concede in many ways that makes it worse.”

The defendant, who had completed a biomedical sciences course at Salford University, wanted to go to John Moores University, Liverpool, in autumn and do a full degree course. Mr Hackett urged the judge to give Ahmed “one final opportunity to make good his life”.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Newell told the defendant he had put other drivers and pedestrians in jeopardy. He continued: “It’s by luck, rather than judgement, that nobody was injured. Your driving was not only dangerous, it was impaired by drink.”