A DESPERATE driver fleeing police smashed a car into a bungalow before running off.

Police chased the black Ford Focus along Bread and Cheese Hill, Benfleet, when the driver lost control of the car, flipping over a grass verge, crashing through a tree and landing upside down on the roof of a bungalow in Thundersley Park Road.

The car slid down the property on to the ground and the driver miraculously escaped from the car and managed to flee the scene – sparkingapolice helicopter and dog search.

Officers say the driver had failed to stop after they tried to pull the car over for a routine check.

Grace Ayres, 83, who lives further down the road, said: “It sounded like a bomb going off.

“Everyone in the street came out to look.

“A policeman knocked on my door and asked if they could search my garden.”

Bernard Connor, 72, who also lives on the road, added: “The carmust have been flying.

“Howhe got out I do not know. It’s a good job there were no pedestrians around at the time though.”

Fortunately, the bungalow was empty at the time of the crash as the previous tenant had moved out four months ago.

Another neighbour, photographer Jo Tennant, said: “The old man who used to live there moved into a care home around the turn of the year. It’s so lucky he is no longer there.

“It’s pretty shocking that this happened on this road, which is usually really quiet.”

A neighbour opposite the bungalow, who asked not to be named, added: “I just heard it, I didn’t see the car, just heard a great whack.

“Two police cars then went down the road past it. They obviously didn’t know what had happened, then they went back and he had gone.”

Despite a major police search – involving dogs and the force helicopter – the drivermanaged to evade capture.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “Officers tried to stop the driver of a black Ford Focus which had been driving along London Road shortly before 7pm on Wednesday evening.

“He failed to stop and lost control of the car flipping it over on to nearby Thundersley Park Road within minutes.

“The male driver, the only occupant, ran away from the scene. Police searched the area with the police helicopter scouring the air for the driver whomay have been seriously injured.”