By Gwyn Wright
A MOTORING menace mum from Denton, who ignored a road ban and caused a head-on car crash as she fled a police patrol at 74mph, has been jailed.
Emma Tuff, 31, caused such a severe impact at a road junction the driver of the other vehicle had to give up riding horses and now suffers from ‘travel anxiety’.
Tuff, who has five children, had been banned from the roads for a string of motoring offences yet got behind the wheel of a Renault Megane with two men in the passenger seats.
A police patrol car spotted her jumping a red light in Ashton and a pursuit began.
The Megane overtook other vehicles and went through other red lights before going through a blind junction where the car slammed into a passing Ford Transit van and causing it spin through the air.
The van driver Megan O’Rourke, who is in her 60s, suffered whiplash in the impact and told police: ‘’I have driven for more than 45 years and before this I was a confident driver and person. I own horses and drive them to events.
‘’All this has changed since the accident and I now suffer from travel anxiety. I suffered from whiplash from my head going forwards and backwards and had to take co-codomol.
‘’I cannot ride horses anymore as I do not have the full range of head movement. This has completely changed my life as I was previously a confident person but now flinch when I see a car speeding and struggle even to be a passenger.”
Tuff, of Linden Road, had 32 offences on her record including dangerous driving in 2014 and drink driving in 2016 and driving while disqualified.
Just two weeks before the crash she had been given a suspended sentence for stealing mobile phones and being in possession of a lock knife.
After the crash she was bailed and the following month was caught at the wheel of a Honda jazz car at a Shell garage.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Tuff pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was jailed for 14 months. The two men she was with escaped.
The 1.15pm incident occurred on April 14 last year after she had picked up two men in the vehicle before driving to the Dukinfield area.
Victoria Lewis, prosecuting, said: ”A police officer was on patrol when they saw the defendant in her Renault. She failed to stop and a pursuit started. The vehicle turned left and she went through a red traffic light before turned into another road at 70mph in a 30mph zone.
”She then approached 74mph, before overtaking several other vehicles at 60mph in what was still a 30mph zone. There was then an accident where she proceeded to go through a red light at around 50mph at a blind junction and collided with the Transit van which became airborne and spun round before ending up on the kerb.
‘’After the collision a man can clearly be seen on CCTV leaving the vehicle and it appears a second passenger also fled. The defendant left the scene but was arrested shortly after. She has shown disregard for the safety of others which is born out by what happened in the end.’’
Steven Sullivan, defending, said: “She is remorseful and says age had been urged by the two men in the car to get away from the police.
”It’s quite clear she does not enjoy good health, she has very difficult personal circumstances and a difficult family background. She is not currently offending because she is not using drugs or alcohol and she is anxious to restore her liberty.
‘’A report said she poses a high risk of re-offending, but immediate custody would not address those risks or the issues she has with her thought processes. A suspended sentence with requirements would reduce that risk more effectively than immediate custody. The court can take a chance on her.”
But sentencing, Judge Tina Landale said: “The offence is very serious and involved extremely high speeds over a long period of time and it came to an end when you collided with another vehicle and that person was very badly injured.
“It has had a long-lasting effect on her. I accept you are sorry and are remorseful and it is clear your personal circumstances have been very difficult, and your illness has affected you.
“But this offence was aggravated not only because of the injury but also because of the danger caused not only to yourself, but the pursuing police officers, the two passengers and all the other road users.”
Tuff had earlier told the judge: “I’m very sorry for my actions on that day – I was suffering.”
She was also banned from driving for three years which will take effect when she is released from prison.