Driver jailed after pretending to be undercover police officer following crash

·2-min read
David Saunders crashed his Vauxhall Astra after driving at ‘excessive speed’ (CPS/PA) (PA Wire)
David Saunders crashed his Vauxhall Astra after driving at ‘excessive speed’ (CPS/PA) (PA Wire)

A driver who pretended to be an undercover police officer and brandished a knife after crashing his car under the influence of drugs has been jailed.

David Saunders, 37, tried to fool concerned members of the public with a pair of handcuffs he used for TikTok pranks after narrowly missing a family-of-six.

Saunders pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, threatening another with a bladed article, impersonating a police officer and failing to provide a specimen for analysis and appeared at Canterbury Crown Court by videolink on Thursday.

Prosecutor Richard Mandel said Saunders had been driving his Vauxhall Astra at “excessive speed” in Ashford Kent in November before losing control and crashing into a wooden fence.

The handcuffs recovered from David Saunders (CPS/PA) (PA Wire)
The handcuffs recovered from David Saunders (CPS/PA) (PA Wire)

“In the course of that dangerous manoeuvre… he narrowly missed hitting a family consisting of mother and father and four children,” Mr Mandel said.

“Mercifully, no-one was hurt.”

Saunders, from Ashford, got out of his car and started remonstrating with a member of the public, pretending to be an undercover police officer.

He then began waving a knife around, causing many of those gathered to flee the scene, the court heard.

Police arrived and Saunders was eventually detained after a pursuit.

Defence barrister Sarah Selby said Saunders has expressed genuine remorse for what happened and feels a “deep sense of shame”.

She told the judge her client has struggled with alcohol dependency but has made huge efforts to improve his life.

The car crashed into a fence, narrowly missing a family (CPS/PA) (PA Wire)
The car crashed into a fence, narrowly missing a family (CPS/PA) (PA Wire)

Ms Selby also argued that Saunders had not got the knife out of the car in order to make threats, instead doing so to try and stop police finding it.

Discussing the handcuffs, she said Saunders had purchased them legally from eBay and used them to film prank videos for TikTok.

Recorder Laurence Harris jailed Saunders for 18 months and banned him from driving for 56 months.

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