AN ESCAPED prisoner crashed off the side of the road after trying to drive the wrong way up the M3 in a bid to evade police.

Darryl Dempsey was chased by police across Hampshire’s motorways, including the M27 and M271 after fleeing Ford Prison in West Sussex.

Now the 22-year-old, from Eastbourne, has been jailed after pleading guilty to dangerous driving at Southampton Crown Court.

Dempsey also pleaded guilty to escaping from lawful custody, driving whilst disqualified and criminal damage.

The court heard how Dempsey had been on the run from police after absconding from prison in on July 3.

But ten days later, on the evening of July 13, Hampshire police officers spotted him in his Izuzu Trooper on the M271, near the junction with the M27.

In a desperate bid to escape chasing officers, Dempsey drove across fields, on footpaths and even tried to go the wrong way up the M3 before he was rammed by police and rolled into a field in Chilworth shortly before 10.30pm.

No one was seriously injured.

In addition to his current prison sentence, Dempsey will now face another two years behind bars.

He was given six months in prison for escaping lawful custody, 16 months for dangerous driving and two months for criminal damage – all to run consecutively.

He was also given a four-month prison sentence for driving whilst disqualified, which will run alongside the rest of his sentence.

In addition, the judge ordered Dempsey to pay a £140 victim surcharge and he was disqualified Dempsey from driving for a total of five years and 24 weeks, after which time he will have to take an extended test.

Chief Inspector Mark Lewis, of the joint roads policing unit, said: “Thanks to the bravery and courage of our highly-trained officers this pursuit ended without injury and with the man responsible detained.

“If Dempsey had not been stopped at that point, he would have got onto the M3, driving the wrong way, which would have been potentially fatal for him and any other innocent road users.

“Our roads policing officers are specially trained to carry out a range of different tactics, such as the one used in this incident, in order to stop those posing a danger to others.

“I am proud of the actions our officers took that day, putting themselves in harm’s way for the protection of others.”