Teenager led police on high-speed chase - because he didn't want his mother to know he'd been pulled over

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McKenzie Ridley. North News and Pictures.McKenzie Ridley. North News and Pictures.
McKenzie Ridley. North News and Pictures.

A conscientious learner driver repeatedly used his indicators as he led police on a high-speed chase.

McKenzie Ridley raced away from police during a ten-minute danger dash because he was worried his mum would find out he had been pulled over. 

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The 18-year-old, who had recently failed his theory test, went the wrong way around a roundabout, ploughed through red lights and successfully swerved to avoid a stinger.

But bizarre dash cam footage of the chase shows the teenager, who smirked at the camera as he left court, indicated ahead of making his dangerous manoeuvres in line with the Highway Code. 

Ridley, who did not have a full driving licence and had recently failed his theory test, forced cops to reach speeds of up to 93mph during the chase on February 27. A helicopter was also deployed. 

Newcastle Crown Court heard he drove from Boldon to Jarrow, via South Shields, in a Mercedes A150, which was carrying two passengers. 

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The college student, who had bought the car with pals, failed to give way and travelled on the wrong side of the road.

His barrister Sam Faulks told the court: "He is a very young defendant, he carried out this offence five days after his 18th birthday. 

"The reason why he panicked and fled from the police is possibly the most telling when it comes to his immaturity - he panicked because he was worried his mum would find out." 

Prosecutor Cainan Lonsdale told the court Ridley's car first came to the attention of the police on New Road in Boldon, where they had to drive at more than 70mph to keep up. 

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As Ridley approached Galsworthy Road in South Shields he went through a red light then maintained a speed of more than 50mph. 

Mr Lonsdale said: "The police officer at that point illuminated emergency lights and began pursuing the defendant. 

"He went along Nevinson Avenue and the officers were travelling at that point in excess of 60mph and the defendant was furthering the gap between the cars."

Mr Lonsdale said Ridley went along King George Road, where the Mercedes straddled the central line and officers hit 70mph in a bid to catch up with him. 

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Ridley then headed along John Reid Road, maintaining his position between two lanes, and police travelled at 88mph to close the gap. 

Mr Lonsdale added: "He was able to avoid a stinger which officers tried to use to bring the vehicle to a stop and was able to swerve around. 

"Officers had to reach 93mph to keep within the distance of the defendant."

Mr Lonsdale said Ridley continued at "high speeds" around roundabouts and went through another red light before heading towards Calf Close Lane in Jarrow at over 60mph. 

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Ridley went along Felgate Avenue in Jarrow at more than 50mph, where the limit is 20mph, and travelled the wrong way around a roundabout.

The teen and his two passengers then left the car on foot and he was found hiding behind a wall. 

Ridley, 18, of Hill Park, Jarrow, admitted dangerous driving, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and having no insurance. 

Judge Julie Clemitson said it was a "remarkable turn of good fortune" that nobody was hurt and told Ridley: "You led them on a merry dance for around ten minutes around South Tyneside before you abandoned the car and ran away. 

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"Your driving during that time put people at risk, not just yourself but yourself but your passengers and other people using the roads that night. 

"You were driving extremely fast." 

Judge Clemiston said Ridley has never been in trouble before, is doing extremely well at college, comes from a decent and respectable family, has good references and is "extremely sorry" for what he did. 

Ridley was sentenced to a community order for 12 months with rehabilitation requirements and an eight week night-time curfew. 

He has been banned from the roads for two years with an extended driving test requirement.

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