Drink-drive boy racer in 90mph chase spared jail

Accrington Observer - - NEWS -

JON MACPHER­SON

ABOY racer who was chased through the streets of Ac­cring­ton while nearly twice the le­gal drink­ing limit has been spared jail.

Robert Les­ley Bell reached speeds of more than 70mph in 30mph zones and re­quired po­lice to travel at 90mph to catch up with him, Burn­ley Crown Court heard.

The 20-year-old ap­pren­tice had drunk beer and spir­its earlier in the evening after ‘strug­gling to cope’ with the end of a re­la­tion­ship, the hear­ing was told.

Stephen Parker, pros­e­cut­ing, told the court how of­fi­cers spot­ted Bell’s Vaux­hall Corsa on Dunken­halgh Way near to the Dill Hall Lane junc­tion at around 10.45pm on July 6 this year.

After see­ing the po­lice, Bell drove through a red light to try and es­cape them and then sped along Hyn­d­burn Road at more than 70mph be­fore mak­ing ‘swift ma­noeu­vres’ onto Milnshaw Lane, Ar­gyle Street and West­wood street.

Mr Parker said of­fi­cers lost sight of Bell for ‘sev­eral min­utes’ be­fore later see­ing him be­ing chased by a Ford Fo­cus.

The court heard how Bell had re­port­edly ‘col­lided’ with the Fo­cus and the driver had ‘given chase to try and ap­pre­hend him’.

Bell then ‘mounted the pave­ment’ on Plan­ta­tion Street to evade of­fi­cers for a sec­ond time be­fore his car was even­tu­ally found parked near his home.

When Bell was breathal­ysed he recorded a level of 65mg of al­co­hol per 100ml.

The le­gal drink driv­ing limit is 35mg.

Bell, of Manor Street, Ac­cring­ton, pleaded guilty to dan­ger­ous driv­ing and drink driv­ing and was given an eight-month jail sen­tence, sus­pended for 12 months, with a 15-day re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ac­tiv­ity re­quire­ment and 100 hours un­paid work.

He was also dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for four years and or­dered to take an ex­tended re-test.

Recorder John Jones QC said it was a ‘dan­ger­ous and dis­grace­ful piece of driv­ing’.

Sen­tenc­ing, he said: “You knew when you got be­hind the wheel that you were over the limit. Nonethe­less you con­tin­ued to drive.

“The re­spon­si­ble thing to do was stop but you con­tin­ued to drive. You drove into res­i­den­tial streets with cars parked on both sides. The court takes the most se­ri­ous view of dan­ger­ous driv­ing. You caused se­ri­ous po­ten­tial harm.”

Recorder Jones QC said send­ing Bell to prison would have a ‘dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect in his life’.

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