A SPEEDING driver, who almost hit a school crossing patrol woman as he tried to avoid being stopped by police, has been given three months to avoid a prison sentence.

Jeremy Iceton sped off when police tried to pull him over in Redcar believing he was a banned driver, a suspicion which turned out to be false.

The 46-year-old admitted driving on the wrong side of the road to avoid vehicles which had stopped for the school crossing and came within feet of hitting the woman as she worked near two schools.

Judge Christopher Smith deferred sentence for three months but issued Iceton with a stark warning – ‘bring a bag with you’ if he doesn’t keep out of trouble until January next year.

Teesside Crown Court heard how she was forced to run to the footpath, fearing for her safety and that of the children and parents in the area.

Rebecca Brown, prosecuting, said Iceton reached speeds in excess of 40mph as he ignored the blue lights and sirens of the perusing police car as he passed near to Sacred Heart School and St Benedict's primary school.

She said: "She was stood in the middle of the road, three or four cars had stopped in front of her, whilst she was stood in the middle she saw the defendant drive towards her on the wrong side of the road – he drove past her at speed, missing her by about one metre.

"He was driving so fast that she couldn't get a description of the driver and had to return to the pavement due to fears for her safety and of the children who were trying to cross."

Iceton, of Pear Tree Court, Redcar, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving following the incident on September 9.

John Nixon, in mitigation, said the defendant had some learning difficulties and needed the support of his family to help him with the Probation Service.

Judge Smith said: "You appear to have a problem with people in authority, you are very close to receiving a prison sentence.

"I need some more information about you and I need to see whether or not you can be given a suspended sentence for this offence. I am deferring sentence in your case, I am putting it off until January."

He added: "It's up to you, come back in January, if you have got yourself in more trouble or you have not been working with probation, I suggest you bring a bag with you – do you understand?"

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