Driver in police chase jailed for A27 chaos

Bayron Velarde ... rammed a police car and damaged eight vehicles
Bayron Velarde ... rammed a police car and damaged eight vehicles

A man who led police on a pursuit on the A27 resulting in an eight-car crash and massive tailbacks has been jailed for more than two years.

Bayron Velarde, 21, rammed a police car in a Mercedes reported stolen, before he eventually crashed on the A27 near Lewes, damaging eight vehicles.

Judge Paul Tain ordered him to serve two years and four months in custody at a sentencing hearing at Lewes Crown Court.

The pursuit of the Mercedes, which had been reported stolen from south-west London, happened on Wednesday, February 7, and started on the A23 just north of Pyecombe when it was seen travelling at speed.

The vehicle then rammed a police car at the A23/A27 interchange before continuing on towards the eastern end of Lewes by-pass where it crashed at the Southerham Roundabout at 4.12pm.

The driver Velarde ran off, along with two other men – Esteban Castro and Marcelo Diaz.

Passenger Castro, 23, managed to swim across the River Ouse in an attempt to evade capture, but was picked up by police as he emerged on the opposite bank. He was taken to hospital under arrest.

The driver of another vehicle involved in the collision sustained a suspected broken collarbone and was also taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Sussex Police said Velarde, unemployed and of no fixed address, was charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving; aggravated vehicle taking [driver did not take] and property damage of £5,000 or more.

Also with driving a motor vehicle other than in accordance with a licence; and using a motor vehicle on a road or public place without third party insurance.

Castro, a fast food employee of Queen’s Road, Wimbledon, was charged with aggravated vehicle taking [being carried on] and property damage of £5,000 or more. Police said the offence was withdrawn with the defendant to be deported.

Diaz, 20, a student of no fixed address, was charged with aggravated vehicle taking [being carried on] and property damage of £5,000 or more. Police said the offence was withdrawn with the defendant to be deported.