A MAN 'put lives at risk' as he sped towards oncoming traffic and nearly ran over a police officer by hurtling along a PAVEMENT.

Drink driver Ryan O'Donnell, 21, got in his car following an alcohol-fuelled fallout with his girlfriend and went on a dangerous driving rampage in Port Glasgow.

O'Donnell — described in court as 'immature' and 'terrified' of prison — was more than twice the legal booze limit as he ignored lights and a female officer's signals for him to stop.

Procurator fiscal Ziad Ul Hassan said: "The accused showed no regard for the red traffic light and continued through it.

"He nearly collided with northbound vehicles and he mounted the pavement to avoid colliding with the oncoming traffic.

"The officer signalled for the accused to stop and he failed to comply and continued along the pavement at speed.

"The officer to take evasive action in order to avoid being struck by the accused's vehicle.

"He returned to the road and continued at excessive speed."

O'Donnell committed the offences amid wet road conditions with heavy traffic on the Port's Arran Avenue at around 1pm on October 7 last year.

The officer he nearly hit got behind the wheel of her patrol car and gave chase.

She was wearing a hi-vis jacket and had been directing traffic with another female PC due to a failure with a temporary traffic lights system.

Her colleagues caught up with O'Donnell at his home on Quarry Road and found his silver-coloured Volkswagen Golf parked with its bonnet still warm.

He was later found to have 57mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

The legal limit is 22mcg.

Prosecutor Mr Ul Hassan said: "It had been noted that he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, and he was argumentative."

O'Donnell pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drink-driving through lawyer Edel McGinty.

His denial of a charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, shouting, swearing and acting aggressively was accepted.

Miss McGinty told the court: "He is certainly the author of his own misfortune.

"The dangerous aspect of what he did is not lost on him, or his family who are in court to support him.

"He lacks maturity and it is fair to say that he is absolutely terrified at the prospect of a custodial sentence."

Miss McGinty added: "He is a first offender but it is accepted that his actions would quite properly merit a custodial sentence.

"An alternative has been identified in the background report, which would allow the court to punish him with a heavy duty community-based disposal."

Sheriff Andrew McIntyre told O'Donnell: "This was a quite shocking course of conduct.

"You put the lives of everyone around you at risk.

"The potential consequences are plain.

"Without question, notwithstanding your age and the absence of previous convictions, this crosses the threshold for prison.

"I must, however, view alternatives to prison."

O'Donnell was ordered to complete 225 hours of unpaid work within 12 months, and he was told that it would have been the maximum 300 hours were it not for his guilty plea.

He has also been banned from the roads for 27 months, reduced from three years, and must re-sit the extended driving test.