27-year-old Pawel Zietowski has been jailed for eight months and banned from driving for 28 months after taking selfies and pulling wheelies on the M6 in Staffordshire, before speeding at up to 117mph. He was filmed by police officers in an unmarked car for 16 minutes which also showed him steering with his thighs and looking through his backpack for a mobile phone.
Polish-born Zietowski, who formerly lived in Harlow, Essex but now lives in Warrington, Cheshire, told probation officers he had an interested in stunt riding and was “practising” on his 2006 Yamaha R6 on the motorway.
At Stoke-On-Trent Crown Court Judge David Fletcher described the footage as “hair-raising” as he passed sentence.
“I wanted that to be played in open court because I wanted to be sure that you had seen it,” Judge Fletcher told Zietowski, a car paint-sprayer. “You were showing off.
“It was clearly driving which was over a lengthy period of time, involving speeds of up to 117mph, involving you twice removing the backpack.
“You were pulling wheelies on a number of occasions, and at one point you were standing up with no hands on the handlebars.
“This was a piece of appalling driving. You say you were involved with some sort of group relating to stunt-type driving.
“If that is the case then there are places and times for that sort of stunt-riding to take place, that place is not the M6 at two o’clock in the afternoon with lots of other vehicles on the road.”
Prosecutor Robert Price told the court that Zietowski was given a driving ban in a separate prosecution back in July having been convicted of failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
He continued to say that the officer in the unmarked Audi first noticed the Yamaha because of its excessive speed on the road.
“He followed it for 16 minutes”, said Mr Price. “It seems plain that the defendant probably wasn’t aware that he was being pursued by an unmarked police car.”
Robert Holt spoke in Zietowksi’s defence, urging the judge to consider suspending the jail term, mitigating with the fact that the road was dry and traffic relatively light.
“Mr Zietowski is keen to emphasise that he is a changed man from the time of this incident. He offers his genuine remorse to the court today.
“From Mr Zietowski’s point of view, he is finished with motorbikes; they are no longer part of his life.”
Zietowski arrived in the UK in 2013 to seek “economic betterment” and had established a relationship with a woman from Warrington while he was working in the south-east.
“He made the commute (using the M6) regularly,” continued Mr Holt. “He has good prospects with a view to his own business being set up.
Inspector Sion Hathaway, from the Central Motorway Police Group, said following the case “Such dangerous riding will not be tolerated on our roads.
“Zietowski showed a blatant disregard for the rules of the road and fellow motorists. His antics could have easily resulted in tragedy”.
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