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Joseph Hernandez jailed for leading police on high-speed chase through Ramsgate and on A299 Thanet Way before crashing near Whitstable

A banned driver – who led police on an 125 mph car chase along the Thanet Way in a stolen car – has been jailed for just NINE months.

The 18-year-old was spotted in Nixon Ave Ramsgate in September at the wheel of a powerful BMW, which had been taken during a break-in.

Joseph Hernandez ignored an attempt by police to corner him and rammed one of their vehicles to escape along the A299 Thanet Way.

The car crashed into a lamppost
The car crashed into a lamppost

Prosecutor Ian Foinette told Canterbury Crown Court: "What followed was a catalogue of extremely dangerous driving including driving at high speeds in built up areas.

"He also drove on the wrong side of the road forcing oncoming vehicles to either break or swerve out of the way to avoid head-on collisions."

During the chase – which involved numerous police vehicles – Hernandez, from London, raced along at 80 mph in 30 mph areas, through red lights and the wrong way around roundabouts.

Several police cars were called to the scene
Several police cars were called to the scene

And when police decided to stop him using a "rolling roadblock" at the Brenley Corner roundabout near Faversham, Hernandez smashed into a car driven by Herne Bay Gazette reporter Aidan Barlow.

Aidan's car was sent spinning into the middle of the road, as Hernandez carried on driving until he smashed the BMW into a lamppost.

The prosecutor told how the teenager then clambered out of the car and tried to escape across a field but tripped and fell into stream.

KM reporter Aidan Barlow
KM reporter Aidan Barlow

It was there he was rescued by a police officer, arrested and later questioned about the stolen vehicle.

Speaking after the sentencing, Aidan said: "I thought the rolling road block was odd, and thought something was further ahead of me. So it was a real shock that almost in the same moment the car crashed into the back of mine.

"I've had weeks of physiotherapy for whiplash, and still have pain today. It's caused no end of problems having to buy a new car.

The red car involved in the chase
The red car involved in the chase

"I could feel quite angry about it. But I've tried to let the bitterness go and move on. I'm not sure the other lady who was more seriously injured will be quite so forgiving."

Mr Foinette said that Hernandez – who had been banned from driving and therefore had no licence nor insurance – revealed "a bizarre" story of how he was forced into taking the BMW from Sheerness to Ramsgate.

Initially, the youngster claimed that four Scousers had threatened him and his girlfriend into agreeing to make the journey.

Police searched the boot of the car
Police searched the boot of the car

"It was a bizarre explanation, claiming he was told if he didn't do it he would be in trouble and threats were made against him and his girlfriend if he didn’t co-operate.

"Then he said he had been given the car keys a week later by a group of 30 or 40 Scousers who were all telling him to drive and he only did it because of the threats."

Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl jailed him for nine months after he admitted handling stolen goods, driving dangerously and while disqualified. He was also banned for three years.

Traffic backed up on the London-bound stretch for hours
Traffic backed up on the London-bound stretch for hours

He told him: "Usually when a dangerous driving case comes to court it is usually because there are accidents. Fortunately in this case there was no serious injuries.. but that was purely a miracle.

"But don't think yourself as some sort of hero or super driver who managed to get away without causing an injury."

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