A drug driver who witnesses estimate was travelling at 80mph shortly before smashing into a cyclist has been sentenced to 30 months in prison, after admitting multiple offences at Newcastle Crown Court last Friday.
John Sinclair was under the influence of heroin and cocaine when he crashed his mother's car into a cyclist and collided with another vehicle at a busy South Shields junction on September 29.
Armed with a hunting knife, Sinclair attempted to flee the scene by threatening passing motorists, approaching a father and son in one vehicle, and repeatedly saying, "I've got a gun".
Sinclair was dragged out of the vehicle and punched by a passer-by, who restrained the drug-fuelled driver until police arrived.
The 39-year-old admitted dangerous driving, aggravated taking without consent, possession of a bladed article, affray and having no insurance. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Detective Chief Inspector of Northumbria Police Sean Mcguigan praised the "extraordinary actions" of the Good Samaritan, and confirmed "thankfully, nobody was injured" during the ordeal.
Sinclair's 18 previous convictions include violent offences, and he admitted to officers following his arrest that he was under the influence of drugs, claiming he had accidentally pressed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.
"This could so easily have been a very different outcome," DCI Mcguigan said. "Sinclair’s erratic and dangerous actions led to him knocking a cyclist off his bike at high speed, before crashing into a car on a busy road. He was under the influence of drugs, and could easily have killed somebody.
"Thankfully, nobody was injured – and that is largely due to the extraordinary actions of this Good Samaritan. We would always discourage the public from risking their own safety, but it’s important to recognise examples of bravery such as this.
“I would like to thank everybody involved, particularly the passer-by who intervened, as well as the victims who supported this prosecution at every step of the way. It is because of their bravery and cooperation that effective justice has been served, and Sinclair now begins a rightful jail term."
Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw recalled Sinclair's post-crash rampage: "He opened the passenger door and dived into the car on top of the eleven-year-old son in the front passenger seat. The man said he believed his son would be injured.
"He was trapped under the defendant. He was concerned for the safety of his son and felt physically sick."
Defending his client, Chris Know stressed Sinclair was "acting out of character" and "at the heart of his behaviour is drugs". The court heard he was a "skilled advanced paint technician" with good job prospects.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.