Vodka-swigging drink-driver drove at police during chase

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A MAN who drove at a police car while carrying five passengers in his hatchback has avoided prison.

Mark Stephenson swigged vodka as police pursued him in his Vauxhall Corsa, Durham Crown Court heard. Passengers included girls aged 12 and 13.

The court was told police became aware of the Corsa after it stopped at a garage in Seaham and made off with £45 of fuel without paying.

Stephenson drove towards a police car coming in the other direction, causing it to swerve, narrowly avoiding a crash.

Stephenson, 24, of Warnbrook Avenue, Murton, admitted dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol, both on September 21.

He was sentenced to 12 months’ prison, suspended for two years, an 18-month supervision order, and a three-year driving ban.