Police spotted 24-year-old Jordan West at the wheel of a stolen nearly-new Seat Leon with false number plates on Cockshott Lane in Bramley.
He failed to stop and drove at speed along Richardshaw Road before turning on to Bradford Road just after 4.30pm on July 30.
Prosecutor, Richard Walters said West was driving on the wrong side of the road when turning from Bradford Road on to Old Road, causing an oncoming vehicle to brake sharply to avoid a head-on collision.
Mr Walters said West drove at 50mph in a 30mph zone through Farsley town centre, which was busy with pedestrians.
West continued along Town Street and on to Bagley Lane and then Calverley Lane, where he was arrested after coming to a standstill due to roadworks.
West, of Merton Drive, Farsley, told a probation officer he was in the army for six-and-a-half-years and had suffered from depression following two tours of Afghanistan.
West admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving with no insurance and handling stolen goods - the Seat Leon.
The court heard he was handed a nine-month jail sentence suspended for two years in September after being convicted of affray and common assault.
Mitigating, Michael Walsh said: “He said he drove away because he didn’t have insurance. He told me that he didn’t know for certain that the car was stolen, but what he didn’t do was ask enough questions. He is foolish in that regard.”
Handing West a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and a 12-month driving ban, Recorder Toby Wynn told him: “I came into court intending to send you to prison for 12 months. This was a prolonged piece of really reckless driving.
“You could have killed a number of individuals, you could have inflicted life-changing injuries on any number of individuals.
“You were being entirely selfish when you were fleeing from police because you were driving a stolen car.” Recorder Wynn added: “You served your country on two occasions in Afghanistan, placing yourself at risk and I have no doubt the consequences of that explain to a considerable extent how you got yourself into trouble.
“I’m going to take in your favour that I can give you one last chance.”