A DRUNKEN driver fled the scene of a head on crash leaving a Darwen woman believing she was trapped in her burning car.

Blackburn magistrates heard Danielle Berry couldn't open the driver's door and had to climb across the front seat to escape from her vehicle.

The court was told that Michael Joseph Costello, who was nearly four times the legal drink drive limit, ran away from the scene of the crash and was only detained after being tracked by a police dog for over a mile.

Costello, 36, of Plodder Lane, Farnworth, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop after a road accident. He was jailed for 12 weeks and banned from driving for three years. He gave a reading of 134 against the legal limit of 35.

Imposing an immediate custodial sentence District Judge Lewis Jones, said it was difficult to imagine the fear and panic Miss Berry must have had to endure when, initially, she could not get out of her car.

"You must have run for a mile or more before the police dog eventually got you," said District Judge Jones. "To your discredit you then started to abuse the police officer which I find completely bizarre. You did this kind of thing in 2015 and this sort of behaviour calls for a prison sentence."

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Miss Berry was driving from her home in Darwen with her mother and father in the vehicle in front of her. She was driving down Roman Road towards Blackburn and had just passed a petting farm when she saw a black car heading towards her. She saw it mount the kerb on its own side of the road and then bounce back onto the road heading straight towards her.

"She tried to get out of the way but had nowhere to go and the defendant's car hit her head on," said Miss Allan. "She screamed as her air bag went off and then thought her car was on fire because she could smell smoke. In a state of panic she tried to get out of the driver's door but it wouldn't open."

Miss Allan said the other car had ended up in a hedge and she heard the engine revving as if it was being moved.

When police arrived on the scene shortly after they described a scene of "carnage" with bits of both cars strewn across the road. Miss Berry's car, which was worth about £5,500 was a write off.

Miss Allan said a dog handler set off in pursuit of the defendant across fields, over barbed wire fences and across a river.

"The defendant ignored warnings that the dog would be released and eventually it was," said Miss Allan. "The dog took him to the ground and the officer arrested the defendant. As he was leading the defendant back he became abusive and told the officer he would never have caught him without the dog."

Miss Allan revealed that Costello had a conviction in June 2015 for failing to provide a sample and failing to stop after an accident which also involved him fleeing the scene of a rad traffic accident and leaving an injured victim behind.

Ben Leech, defending, said his client did not take issue with the facts put forward and accepted the offences had crossed the custody threshold.

"He places himself at the mercy of the court," said Mr Leech. "He wants me to express his shame and his regret and offer a full and substantial apology to the victim."

Mr Leech said the incident came at a difficult time in his client's life following the breakdown of a long-term relationship just after Christmas.

"He concedes that he had started drinking too much," said Mr Leech.