Drink driver in 120mph police chase

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A DRUNK driver who crashed after a 120mph police chase has walked free from court.

James Bridgewater was almost twice the legal limit when he got behind the wheel of his pal’s Vauxhall Astra in Newcastle, and set off for a 20-mile trip to County Durham.

Newcastle Crown Court heard police had tried to pull him over when they saw him get behind the wheel at Mosley Street in the city, in the early hours of the morning last November.

But he drove off through a red light and ignored the officers’ requests.

Bridgewater was finally brought to a standstill when he crashed into railings at a roundabout, at the Seaham turn-off of the A19.

The 20-year-old, of Waverley Close, Shotton Colliery, admitted dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, drving while disqualified and having no insurance.

Prosecutor Dane Spence told the court police had abandoned the pursuit after Bridgewater continued to ignore their flashing blue lights in Newcastle, and put out an alert to other officers.

He was spotted again at Testos roundabout, where the chase was taken up again, but officers failed in their bid to box him in.

Miss Spence said: “He continued south on the A19 in excess of 100mph. In fact he was clocked at 120mph at one point.”

The court heard even after Bridgewater crashed into a roundabout barrier after travelling on to the B1404 and wedged the driver’s door shut he tried to slide over to the passenger side of the car so he could get away.

Miss Spence added: “He said ‘I’ve been done for drink-driving before and I dont want to get done again’.”

Mr Recorder Bryan Cox sentenced Bridgewater, who spent 159 days in custody on remand, to nine months’ imprisonement, suspended for two years, with supervision, programme requirements and a three-year driving ban.

The judge said: “This was dreadful driving.”

Bridgewater, who has only ever been in trouble before for driving offences, told police he had borrowed the friend’s car to get something to eat that night.

He also admitted he sped off despite knowing the police were trying to pull him over.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho