Whalley man’s driving ‘could have killed’: court case


A WHALLEY man who had planned to become a ski instructor in Austria will instead be doing unpaid work in East Lancashire after being sentenced for dangerous driving.

Blackburn magistrates heard the standard of 22-year-old Sean Ronnan’s driving had posed a “significant risk” to members of the public as he sped away from police in a powerful Audi S3.

Ronnan, of The Arches, Whalley, admitted dangerous driving and driving without due care and attention.

He was sentenced to 15 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and banned from driving for 24 months. He was also fined £200 with £170 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Miss Catherine Allan (prosecuting) said police driving along Whalley Road towards Clitheroe saw the Audi driven by Ronnan leave the petrol station forecourt at high speed. His wheels where spinning and the car “fish-tailed” across the road, narrowly missing the police vehicle.

He raced off, overtaking on the wrong side of the road on a left hand bend. An officer estimated his speed at between 80 and 100mph as he crossed double white lines to overtake another vehicle on the brow of a hill.

“The officer said if anyone had been coming the other way they could have been killed,” said Miss Allan.

She said the due care offence happened in York Street, Clitheroe, about 10-45 p.m. on a Saturday night. Two officers on foot patrol heard an engine revving over and over and then saw a black Audi travelling at high speed towards them. One of the officers stepped into the road and indicated for the car to stop.

“Instead of slowing the officer swerved around the officer and carried on,” said Miss Allan.

Mr John Heaton (defending) said since the incidents the Audi had been sold and Ronnan had stopped driving before an interim disqualification was imposed.

Mr Heaton said Ronnan had a privileged background and all the advantages of coming from a good family.

“He has previously worked for his father but is a qualified ski instructor and has hopes of a job in Austria for the season,” said Mr Heaton. “There is an opportunity for him to make a break and look to the future.

Ordering the unpaid work a district judge said that should take priority over plans to work abroad.