A drug dealer from Tunbridge Wells who drove a car at police officers to evade capture has been jailed.

Kai Austen used a Range Rover to ram a police vehicle and damage two others during a failed escape attempt, which also saw him almost collide with a member of public.

Kai Austen Image: Kent Police

Austen had been wanted in connection with several drugs supply offences, after his DNA was matched to packages of cannabis and cocaine seized in Tunbridge Wells. He was initially arrested on 14 September 2021, when a phone was also seized which showed further evidence of his criminal network.

The 19-year-old was bailed as officers sought to build a successful case, however he went on to breach bail conditions related to a separate investigation and efforts to find and arrest him again were intensified. On 8 December 2021, information linked him to an area in Hastings Road, Flimwell, Sussex where a Range Rover was parked. Austen was at the wheel and when he saw the attending patrols he attempted to flee, causing damage to three police cars.

A witness at the scene was also forced to run to safety and narrowly missed being struck and seriously injured. Austen, from Tunbridge Wells was eventually detained after officers used batons to smash a car window and disable the engine.

Footage of Kai Austen detained by police

He pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to two counts of being concerned in the supply of drugs (cocaine and cannabis), as well as a further four charges for possession with intent to supply drugs.

He also admitted dangerous driving, three counts of assault on emergency workers, three counts of criminal damage, and possessing a knife in a public place. On Monday 14 November 2022, Austen was sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment at a young offender institution.

Sergeant Ed Kavanagh, of the Tunbridge Wells Community Policing Team, said: ‘Kai Austen was running an extensive drugs supply network to users in and beyond Tunbridge Wells. He is a dangerous individual, as clearly evidenced by the contempt and utter disregard he has shown to the safety of the police officers who he deliberately drove at. His reckless actions also caused considerable distress and danger to a member of public who only escaped serious injury by the smallest of margins.

‘I can assure residents we will continue to do everything within our powers to pursue drug dealers like Austen, whose actions ultimately cause profound problems and suffering, and leave communities bearing the brunt of linked criminality such as violence and antisocial behaviour.’   

By Ed

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