Published: 15:54, 01 May 2013
A banned Ashford driver has told how a near-death experience in a car crash has made him decide to go straight.
Cannabis addict Mitchell Schofield wrapped his Peugeot car around a lamppost during a 60mph police car chase through the town in March.
But now the 19-year-old has told a judge that he has quit his drugs habit – after fearing he was going to die in the crash.
He told Judge Adele Williams: “I have been smoking weed since I was a young boy. I used to think I was untouchable.
“Then I crashed my car and now see things differently. I thought I was going to die – my head was literally inches away from hitting the lamppost. Since then I haven’t touched any cannabis.
“I no longer see my actions as being a big man who could brag about it. I regret my actions and I am going to change.”
But the teenager’s plea from the dock at Canterbury Crown Court didn’t save him from being sent to a young offender’s institute for eight months.
Schofield, of Manorfield, Singleton, near Ashford had admitted driving dangerously, while disqualified and without insurance.
Prosecutor James Bilsland told how officers in a police car near Ashford train station spotted a Peugeot 306 with part of its exhaust missing.
“They started to follow the vehicle to what is known as the Rusty Nut [Bolt] roundabout where the driver pulled out in front of a white van – causing that driver to brake and sound his horn.”
The prosecutor said during the chase on to the A28 the teenager drove through red lights, past vehicles on the inside, on the wrong side of the road and hit a kerb.
Mr Bilsland added: “The vehicle eventually went into a residential area in Tithe Barn Lane where there was a play area and a primary school.
“There the officers found that the Peugeot had crashed into a lamppost and arrested Schofield who admitted he had no insurance and said he thought he would be going straight back to prison!”
The court heard that the teenager had committed more than 30 previous offences including driving while disqualified and failing to report an accident.
Peter Alcock, defending, said Schofield, who was banned from driving, had bought the car to “do it up” prior to it being sold.
He added: “His driving was very bad indeed and he knows that. He has stopped taking cannabis now.
“As he was about to crash he thought he was about to die and it has really changed his life. He wants that change to be permanent.”
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