A man thought to be high on crack cocaine gave motorists the fright of their lives during a hari-kari driving escapade which could have had catastrophic consequences.
Cameron MacLellan, 27, was said to be “as high as a kite” during his crazy driving antics in which he performed double-overtaking manoeuvres in built-up areas, shot through red lights and narrowly avoided a head-on collision near the brow of a hill.
Horrified motorists looked on aghast as MacLellan, from Knaresborough, veered from one near-disaster to the next as he headed towards Harrogate town centre in his Mini, York Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Rob Galley said the drama began in Forest Moor Lane, where MacLellan overtook a vehicle just before the brow of a hill. Approaching in the opposite direction was a 4x4 vehicle whose driver had to brake heavily to avoid a collision.
MacLellan - who had a female passenger inside - then accelerated up the hill towards the Woodlands traffic lights where he sped past a Ford Focus, which was already being overtaken by another vehicle and in front of which was a row of cyclists.
Mr Galley said that, miraculously, there was only one minor collision with a Fiat Punto at a junction. The accident caused minor damage to the Punto and MacLellan’s car. He sped off again but was eventually stopped after police were alerted.
By the time officers reached his car, MacLellan was already out of the vehicle, “flailing his arms around, appearing very agitated”, said Mr Galley.
MacLellan disappeared behind a bush where officers found a drug pipe with his DNA on it, added the prosecutor.
Police searched the vehicle and found three silver drug wraps containing 200mg of crack cocaine.
MacLellan was charged with dangerous driving in Forest Moor Lane and Wetherby Road, and possessing a Class A drug on October 24 last year. He initially denied the driving offence, claiming he was being chased by some men who had earlier threatened him at a pool hall.
However, he later owned up to both offences and appeared for sentence on Monday. The court heard that jobless MacLellan, of Kings Road, had a previous conviction for dangerous driving and possessing MDMA with intent.
MacLellan’s defence counsel said there was some indication that MacLellan had cocaine in his system at the time of the driving escapade but, “rather unusually”, he passed the drug-driving test.
She said MacLellan had led a drug-addled, “isolated” existence and suffered from depression and acute anxiety.
The Probation Service said that a doctor had adjudged MacLellan to be extremely paranoid.
But Judge Mr Batty QC said: “The reality is that (on the day in question) he was as high as a kite.”
Mr Batty, who described MacLellan’s driving as “idiotic”, gave MacLellan a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He also imposed a four-month daily curfew, which prevents MacLellan leaving his home between 7pm and 6am, as well as a two-year driving ban.