• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Escaped prisoner arrested after 80mph police chase in Kent

Byscarcity news

Feb 7, 2022

An escaped prisoner who weaved in and out of traffic as he took police on a high-speed chase in a stolen van is now back behind bars. 

Caught on police cameras, the chase began when twice-banned driver William Adams, 22, was spotted at the wheel of the stolen vehicle.

The pursuit, beginning on the A249 in Sittingbourne in Kent, hit speeds of 80 mph in a 30 zone.

Adams damaged two police cars during the chase and destroyed a third when it hit a tree and burst into flames.

Judge Gareth Branston watched an eight-minute video showing him hitting other vehicles, narrowly missing two horses and forcing pedestrians and workmen to get out of his way.

He also drove the wrong way down roads and continued on his wheel rims when one of his tyres shredded after a traffic cone got stuck under his van.

The chase ended near the Stockbury roundabout on the A249 when the van was rammed by a police car. Adams was caught as he tried to run away.

Nearly four months before on July 14, Adams had walked out of Ford Open Prison in West Sussex, where he was serving a 45-month sentence imposed in September 2020 for conspiracy to steal.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how he then stayed at large until November 23 last year when a police officer spotted the stolen van near Sittingbourne.

The judge told him: ‘This was truly horrifying to watch and your selfish and foolish driving could have been even more serious had someone been injured or killed.’

Prosecutor Stacy Lee-Holland said: ‘Police began following the van as it drove away at speed along the A249 towards Maidstone — at excessive speed.

‘At the Stockbury roundabout, the van struck a police car before Adams drove over the roundabout to get away.”

She said the van then smashed through barriers and onto narrow country lanes, at 80mph in a 30mph zone.

Another police car was then knocked off the road by the stolen van before going down a bank and colliding with a tree and ‘immediately’ catching fire.

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Ms Lee-Holland added: ‘The defendant then drove on the opposite side of the road, overtaking a lorry at a dangerous point with oncoming traffic approaching.

‘At one point he had a traffic cone stuck underneath the van before it came away damaging a tyre.

‘The tyre then shredded, causing sparks to fly as the van drove on the rims along Keycol Hill in Newington.

‘Eventually, the van was stopped near the Stockbury roundabout when the defendant tried to get away on foot but was arrested.’

Sam Willis, defending, said Adams walked out through the prison gates after learning of ‘bickering’ in his family and that his girlfriend was seeing someone else.

‘He simply left through the front gates but now regrets it. Had he remained he would probably now be out on a tag.’

Adams, who has no fixed address, admitted escaping lawful custody, driving dangerously and driving while disqualified.

He was returned to serve the rest of the original sentence and now the judge has added another 28 months, which will run consecutively.

Adams was also banned from driving for four years and ten months.