A DRUNK driver stole a pal’s car and led police on a late-night pursuit through the streets of Sunderland, crashing into a vehicle as he fled.
Motorists were forced to get out of the way of Martin Malarkey’s stolen Peugeot 106 as he was chased by officers on June 7, Sunderland magistrates heard.
The 22-year-old had been to a house party in Ford Crescent, South Hylton, when he found the keys to the silver 106 in the kitchen and drove off without the owner’s knowledge.
Prosecutor John McGlone said he was seen driving along Hylton Road at 11.05pm and onto General Havelock Road, where he smashed into a parked car. The blue Renault Megane suffered damaged its rear end, while the 106 had front-end damage.
A passing police car made a U-turn and activated its blue lights and signalled for him to pull over, Mr McGlone said.
But Malarkey drove off at one point pulling straight onto the Wessington Way roundabout and driving all the way around it, causing other drivers to take evasive action to avoid a crash.
He eventually came to a halt in Camden Street, on the north side of Queen Alexandra Bridge, where a breath test showed he had 62 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath, the legal limit being 35.
Malarkey, of Meadow Grove, South Hylton, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, drink driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to stop when asked by police, having no licence and no insurance. He has no previous convictions.
“My understanding is that dangerous driving in a pursuit situation, that is a matter that should be committed to the crown court,” Mr McGlone said. “This case has the additional aggravating factors of crashing the vehicle, failure to stop, being drunk, having no licence or insurance.”
Chris Wilson, mitigating, said: “These have been guilty pleas from the outset. I don’t think there is any other alternative open to the court then to commit Mr Malarkey for sentence at the crown court.”
Malarkey was given an interim driving ban and was released on conditional bail. He will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on a date to be fixed.