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  1. A man has been jailed after driving into and hitting a police constable in Watford as he tried to escape.

Darren McPhee, aged 27, of no fixed address, refused to leave his cell to appear in St Albans Crown Court on Wednesday (17 February) but was still sentenced in his absence.

He had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while unfit through drugs, failing to stop for police and assaulting a police officer.

He was also sentenced for actual bodily harm (ABH) and breach of a non-molestation order, which both occurred outside of Hertfordshire.

In total, he was jailed for two and a half years, also disqualified from driving for two and a half years starting upon release from prison. He will need to take an extended re-test before getting his licence back.

The court heard how on the morning of Thursday 28 February 2019, plain-clothes officers from Watford’s Operation Scorpion team spotted a grey Volvo parked up in Pumphouse Crescent.

They suspected the driver – McPhee – was carrying out a drug deal so one of the officers signalled for him to stop.

Instead, the defendant reversed the vehicle and deliberately drove at the constable, knocking him off his feet and throwing him over the bonnet. He suffered bruising and discomfort as a result, but no serious injuries. McPhee drove off erratically and the officer alerted colleagues of the incident on his radio.

A short time later, two other officers in a marked patrol car located McPhee driving in the direction of Bushey. They signalled for him to stop but again he failed to do so.

Instead he began driving at 50mph in a 30mph zone, overtaking traffic, speeding the wrong way around a roundabout, mounting pavements, colliding with other cars and travelling on the opposite side of the road, all in a bid to evade police.

He eventually lost control of the car on The Avenue in Bushey, where it crashed into a lamp post. McPhee tried to run from the scene but was swiftly arrested by police before being taken to custody.

A blood test was carried out and the defendant was found to have a significant amount of THC (cannabis) in his system.

Investigator Jeannie Ireland, from the Case Investigation Team, said: “In his desperation to elude police, McPhee chose to put not only the life of a police officer at risk, but the lives of the wider public when he drove dangerously through the streets of Watford and Bushey.

“It is a miracle that no one was seriously injured that day. Now that he is behind bars he is off the roads and I hope McPhee uses the time to reflect on his actions.”

Investigator Jeannie Ireland, from the Case Investigation Team, said: “In his desperation to elude police, McPhee chose to put not only the life of a police officer at risk, but the lives of the wider public when he drove dangerously through the streets of Watford and Bushey.

“It is a miracle that no one was seriously injured that day. Now that he is behind bars he is off the roads and I hope McPhee uses the time to reflect on his actions.”