Driver led police on 70mph chase
A MOTORIST who drove through red lights at 70mph in a bid to evade the police has been spared jail.
Daniel Hughes took officers on a 1.5-mile chase in the early hours of the morning before abandoning his car and being tracked down by a police dog.
Prosecutor Heather Chamberlin yesterday told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court police stopped Hughes and his friend as they walked in Wolstanton at 1.40am on September 11 last year.
The men told officers they were going to Asda to get some food.
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But a few minutes later the officers saw a Vauxhall Astra turn on to High Street and head towards them at speed.
Miss Chamberlin said: "The driver was this defendant. The officers turned their car round to follow using blue lights but it accelerated away from them towards Newcastle. Officers estimated the Astra was travelling at between 60mph and 70mph."
When it reached the Brampton, Newcastle, the Astra turned left into Sandy Lane and continued to drive at similar speeds.
Miss Chamberlin said: "At the traffic lights, the Astra went straight through into Albert Street. The vehicle then went straight across into Boundary Street, a cul-de-sac. Police found the car abandoned with no occupants and a police dog handler came to the scene. The dog followed the driver to Lancaster Avenue, a few streets away, where he was detained."
Miss Chamberlin said all the roads have 30mph speed limits but added there was no traffic and no-one was inconvenienced.
In his police interview, Hughes accepted being the driver. He said he was a provisional licence holder and panicked because he had not got a full licence. He accepted he had been stupid.
Hughes added he had been to see his mum in hospital before going to his friend's house. He said he thought he had been travelling at between 30mph and 40mph and could not remember going through lights on red.
Hughes, aged 28, of Franklin Road, Penkhull, later pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop, having no insurance and driving without a licence.
Robert Holt, mitigating, said the latter part of last year was a difficult time for Hughes, whose mother has now passed away. But the defendant, a father, is in a stable relationship and has a job. Mr Holt added it was not the most serious example of dangerous driving.
Recorder Rachel Brand QC told Hughes he had been 'stupid' but said she was not going to send him to custody because he had made substantial efforts to sort his life out. She sentenced him to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, with 12 months supervision and 120 hours unpaid work.
He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.
Recorder Brand QC said: "It is very fortunate this was on empty roads at night, that no-one was inconvenienced or hurt and nothing was damaged. You were in your own car, you were always going to be caught, even though you abandoned your car and tried to run away. It really was stupid."