A DRIVER fled police in the middle of the night with no lights on before crashing head-on into another car.

Lee Culleton drove at speed around roads in the heart of London overnight without his headlights on, and it was “a fluke” that his crash with a woman driving a Mercedes did not result in serious injuries.

The 38-year-old of Rattwick Drive, Canvey had previously been disqualified from driving for five years in August 2017, but was spotted by police driving a Ford Focus around the Northern Circular Road - the A406 - in east London on June 22 this year.

It was 2.15am when the female driver of a Mercedes vehicle spotted Culleton tearing past her in the opposite direction on the road, followed by police who had their blue flashing lights on, while Culleton himself did not have headlights on.

Culleton then turned off the A406 and onto a side road where he continued to run from the police at speed.

The pursuing officers thought Culleton was going to drive further away from the A406 as the direction he was driving was the opposite way to which he was going on the dual carriageway, but he ended up doing a sharp turn back around onto the road where he crashed into the Mercedes that had passed him previously.

Culleton admitted dangerous driving and driving while disqualified and was jailed at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday.

Culleton refused to come out of his cell and was sentenced to 72 weeks in prison in his absence.

Prosecuting, Geoffrey Taylor said: “There was a substantial risk of major damage.

“It’s only by chance the Mercedes had slowed down. Another car could have come around at a much faster speed.”

Mitigation for Culleton said he was remorseful and that he was frustrated to be back in the courts again, and had enrolled in courses in prison to better himself.

Recorder Paul Taylor told the court: “Thankfully this did not cause great harm but frankly that was a fluke.

“Any vehicles travelling at speed at that time would have been involved in a collision into the defendant.”

Culleton was given 72 weeks in jail and will be further banned from driving a car as a result of his actions.