Terror chase bus hijacker jailed
A MAN obsessed by buses hijacked a single-decker and took it on a wrecking spree – just like a chase scene in a Hollywood action movie.
Drunken Stephen Pope, 34, rammed a police car, smashed into parked vehicles and careered out of control on the wrong side of a dual carriageway, forcing drivers to swerve to avoid him.
The already-banned driver was stopped only when police managed to board the bus and Taser him.
Yesterday Pope, who has other convictions for taking buses, was starting a 98-week prison sentence.
A judge at Leeds Crown Court said: “It was like something out of a Hollywood movie. Instead of it being a tank or a ridiculous fast car, it was a bus and the chase was on.”
Prosecutor Simon Reevell said Pope was pursued through Wake- field, West Yorkshire, at night after taking the £300,000 bus from the town’s depot on July 27 last year.
Police moved in when they saw it being driven slowly.
“The bus started to veer all over the road. A police car was knocked off the carriageway,” he said.
“The bus then crossed the central reservation, continuing on the wrong side of the A650.”
Oncoming cars took evasive action but Pope hit three parked vehicles, causing £2,000 damage.
Officers halted the bus in Outwood, near Wakefield, and as a police helicopter hovered overhead, they forced their way in and sub- dued Pope, who was almost twice the drink-driving limit.
He later told police he had taken a bus from the same terminus on July 15, causing £6,500 of damage to two other buses.
Recorder Paul Isaacs said Pope had an “obsession for driving public service vehicles”, adding that it was “as bad a piece of driving” as one could imagine.
Pope, of Wakefield, admitted nine offences, including aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified, with excess alcohol and without insurance. He was also given a three-year driving ban.
Nicki Forster, defending, said a suspended sentence backed with an alcohol treatment order would be a suitable punishment. But the judge said the public would be “aghast” if Pope was not jailed.
Stephen Pope at an earlier hearing and the £300,000 bus damaged in his drunken joyride