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Drunk driver jailed after high-speed chase
7:00am Tuesday 11th March 2014 in News
A banned driver who was involved in a high-speed police pursuit while he had passengers, including a young child, in his car has been jailed for nine months.
Benjamin Smith, 27, drove at more than double the speed limit during the late-night incident, which lasted less than five minutes, and when he was breath-tested at the roadside he was found to be over the limit.
Last year Smith was banned from driving for 12 months for driving with excess alcohol, but his barrister Ken Green conceded that the court appearance had not been the wake-up call for his client it should have been.
“Very foolishly he decided to assist his friends on the night in question – again driving a motor car while drunk,” said Mr Green.
“He accepts he shouldn’t have driven in the manner he did. It was the typical reaction of a panicked man.”
Bradford Crown Court heard how police officers in an unmarked car spotted Smith driving a Vauxhall Vectra on Queen’s Road last October.
Prosecutor Rebecca Young said the car was travelling at about 60mph on the 40mph road, but as the officers followed it reached speeds of 70mph in Swain House Road and Ravenscliffe Avenue which have a 30mph limit.
During the pursuit the Vectra almost collided with a parked vehicle before Smith tried to do a handbrake turn.
Miss Young said Smith was arrested and it was seen that there was a woman with a young child in the back and man in the front passenger seat.
Smith, of Ravenscliffe Avenue, Ravenscliffe, Bradford, smelled of alcohol and he claimed in interview that he had not been driving the Vectra.
Although a roadside breath test indicated that Smith was over the drink-drive limit he later refused to be tested at the police station.
Smith was jailed for a total of nine months by Judge Neil Davey QC after he admitted charges of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to provide a breath sample and failing to stop for police.
Mr Green said the dangerous driving had been short-lived and fortunately there was very little traffic on the roads.
But Judge Davey said the incident had again involved Smith being behind the wheel of a car while drunk and it had been a serious offence of dangerous driving. He said: “People could easily have been injured or killed, particularly the passengers which included a young child in the back of your car.”