BIRMINGHAM, UK – A British car thief who led officers into a dangerous pursuit through snow-covered roads was tasered at the wheel and arrested after the officers managed to box him in with their patrol cars.
The incident took place in the city center of Birmingham, West Midlands.
Road cameras helped the police locate the stolen Porsche 911. The 31-year-old man, who later identified himself as Lee Smythe, sped through a red light. When the officers spotted him, he led them into the pursuit.
Smythe tried to drive around a traffic island but soon spun the vehicle where the officers were able to box him in.
As Smythe continued trying to drive away, officers deployed a taser, which allowed them to safely get him out of the car and arrest him.
“Smythe lost control of the Porsche on the slippery surface and was fortunate not to collide with other road users,” said Rich Storer, an officer with the West Midlands Police. “We knew we had to stop him quickly as an accident was waiting to happen. We used some tactical contact to box him in and were able to swiftly get him in handcuffs.”
Officers discovered a can of pepper spray on Smythe, which as per UK law, is considered a weapon and will result in additional charges.
He later admitted to aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, and firearms possession.
Smythe was jailed for 16 months on Feb. 25 following his trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
He was also banned from driving for three years and eight months and will have to pass an extended driving test once when he gets out.
“It was a good job — to have him locked up little more than two hours after the Porsche was reported stolen was a great effort,” said Storer.
Statistics suggest that in a ranking of road deaths in European countries, England and Northern Ireland were near the bottom of the list. Preliminary data for 2018 indicates that there were roughly 27 deaths recorded per million population in England, and the safest country was Norway at 20 deaths per million population.
Overall, the number of car drivers involved in reported road accidents in Great Britain amounted to 165,050 in 2019. Figures have been steadily declining in almost two decades, the only reported increase being in 2014. As for costs, serious road accidents had a value of more than GBP 250,000 ($345, 378) in prevention costs. By comparison, fatal accidents were by far the costliest.
(Edited by Ritaban Misra and Gaurab Dasgupta. Map by Urvashi Makwana.)
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