Lincoln Crown Court heard Panasiewicz terrified other motorists during a 60-mile journey in which he hit the central reservation of a dual carriageway and refused to stop his flame-engulfed car after bingeing on two bottles of wine, beer and amphetamines.And he didn’t stop even after sustaining serious damage:
The court was told other motorists began calling the police after the blue Audi A4 was spotted "veering in the road from left to right" on the A1 near Peterborough services in Cambridgeshire.
Katrina Wilson, prosecuting, told the court a motorcyclist was nearly "wiped out" as Panasiewicz continued to tailgate other drivers during his journey north on the A1 at RAF Wittering, near Stamford.
Miss Wilson said another concerned driver dialled 999 after Panasiewicz left the A1 and continued to race up behind other motorists on the inside lane of the A46 roundabout at Newark in Nottinghamshire.Eventually, the police caught up with him when he crashed the car. Even then, he wasn’t going down without a fight!
The court heard Panasiewicz lost control and struck the central reservation of the A46 as he headed towards Lincoln but still refused to stop.
"There was a thick cloud of smoke after his car scraped along the central reservation and torn-off pieces of tyre were left on the road, but he continued driving on the rims of his wheels," Miss Wilson added.
Panasiewicz was eventually forced to a halt after striking a barrier near the A46 roundabout on Lincoln's bypass.Oh, if only they’d had Spud with them!
"He got out and walked away as flames engulfed the vehicle," Miss Wilson told the court.
When police arrived they found Panasiewicz walking alongside the dual carriageway. He was taken to the floor with the help of a police dog after pulling down his trousers and exposing himself to the arresting officers.
Gareth Wheetman, mitigating, said Panasiewicz lived with his wife in Hertfordshire and was in full-time work.And…? Isn’t that just normality, rather than mitigation? Or is there something about Hertfordshire that no-one's telling me?
Mr Wheetman added: "What was behind this extraordinary conduct was not just his drink and drug addictions, and his gambling problem, but depression which led to a feeling of helplessness."Not half as ‘helpless’ as he made those other drivers feel, I’ll bet!
For this, he got….14 months. Oh, and not forgetting…
Judge Morris also banned Panasiewicz from driving for two years and ordered him to take an extended driving test.I wouldn’t want to be that driving examiner, would you?