‘Knight Rider’ drive near Norwood ended in crash

York Crown Court
York Crown Court
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A kamikaze motorist has been blasted by a judge for tearing through narrow country roads like “Knight Rider”.

Ronald Vickers, 32, terrified his mates by taking them on a ride through Farnley, where he was said to have cut corners and taken bends at speeds of up to 70mph.

The three-mile drive started at the Sun Inn at Norwood, where Vickers - who used to work for Chevin Cycles in Harrogate - had drunk two pints of cider before offering two of his cricket mates a lift home.

They accepted but immediately regretted it when Vickers - who had no licence or insurance - reversed into a parked car in the pub car park. He then drove off in his Alfa Romeo without reporting the accident.

Witnesses reported seeing sparks coming from the car’s undercarriage as it sped round bends barely under control. York Crown Court heard that Vickers’ terrified passengers were pleading with him to slow down but he ignored them.

Prosecuting barrister Donald Macfall said Vickers overtook a car on the brow of a hill at speeds described by one of his passengers as like nothing he had ever seen before.

The car eventually crashed when Vickers sped round a bend near Farnley Primary School.

“He lost control and collided with a dry-stone wall on the side of the road,” said Mr Macfall. “The car bounced across the road and came to rest on a grass verge.”

One of Vickers’ passengers said that on the approach to the bend on the B6451 he had estimated the car to be travelling at about 70mph, although Vickers claimed it was more like 40mph.

Mr Macfall said the crash had caused more than £400 of damage to the wall, which belonged to the Farnley Hall estate. The two passengers were “very shaken” but escaped relatively unscathed, one of them suffering a bruised hand. They got out of the car but Vickers drove on to Otley despite the fact that one of his tyres was deflated.

On reaching Otley, Vickers “continually” apologised to his friends but they said his behaviour was “strange”. He ended up getting a police penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly in Otley’s pubs.

The court heard that Vickers had a previous conviction for driving without insurance and drink-driving in 2008, when he was given a motoring ban.

In August last year he was in trouble again for making off without payment, driving with no licence or test certificate, and failing to give his address after a road accident.

His latest offences in Farnley happened just a few weeks later.

Vickers, of Autumn Place, Leeds, appeared in court for sentence on Tuesday after being convicted of dangerous driving, failing to report an accident and having no licence or insurance on August 23.

Defence barrister Laura Addy said Vickers was “wholly remorseful” for his actions and argued that he had not been speeding going round the bend where the accident occurred.

Judge Robert Bartfield criticised Vickers for “showing off like some kind of Knight Rider figure”, referring to the 1980’s American TV series in which David Hasselhoff played a maverick speedster who drove a super-fast car.

He added that Vickers had been “taking chances on corners and overtaking on narrow, Dales-type country roads” in the run-up to the crash at about midnight.

He gave Vickers a 12-month driving ban but decided against a prison sentence, imposing instead a one-year community order.

Vickers was also ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work and pay £420 compensation for the damage to the dry-stone wall.