A SEMI-PRO footballer has been jailed for 15 months after a court heard he was involved in two incidents of dangerous driving on the same night.
Richard Lee Evans of Arfryn, Southsea, near Wrexham, has made 500 appearances in League of Wales matches.
A court heard how he rounded a bend too fast in a flat-backed Ford Transit and crashed into the rear of a taxi waiting at temporary traffic lights.
He carried on through the red lights but returned a little later when police were at the scene. But when approached by officers, Evans denied any involvement in the earlier incident.
An officer then tried to grab his ignition keys but he tried to reverse away, striking a car which had pulled up behind him.
He then made off up the road and a police colleague had to pull the officer out of the way to avoid him being hit.
Evans was not arrested that night, evading police after a short police pursuit, explained prosecutor David Martin.
Evans, 36, a father of four, admitted two charges of dangerous driving on the A525 on the approach to Coedpoeth on the night of March 17.
He was jailed for 14 months and banned from driving for three years – and he must take an extended driving test.
Judge Philip Hughes, sitting at Mold Crown Court, imposed an additional month’s prison for being in breach of a conditional discharge for handling stolen goods.
The judge said that, while he was not charged with drink-driving, it was clear he had been drinking as officers had been quite clear about the condition he was in when they saw him in the vehicle.
He had driven too fast initially and struck the rear of a taxi, causing whiplash injuries to the female driver, and then driven through red traffic lights but later returned to the scene.
“You were stopped by the police,” said the judge. “You tried to get away from them and reversed into a car behind you.
“You drove off narrowly missing the officer whose colleague had to drag him away in case you struck him. Off you went.”
Such offences committed by a man with his previous convictions meant immediate custody, he said.
Stephen Edwards, defending, said Evans was a well-known semi-professional footballer and there was a testimonial written on his behalf by his club, GAP Connah’s Quay.
Evans was an example to younger players on the field but not off the field where it was accepted he had previous convictions.
But the references written to the court showed there was another side to him, said Mr Edwards. His wife suffered from severe epilepsy and needed care day and night, and Evans played role caring for her and their four children.
He said Evans was on his way home from a hard day’s work when he shunted the taxi in front and reacted in panic.