Motorist hit 115mph during police pursuit

Preston Crown Court, where Paul Walton (below) was sentenced to a year and two weeks in prison.
Preston Crown Court, where Paul Walton (below) was sentenced to a year and two weeks in prison.
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A driver hit speeds of more than 100mph as he tried to shake off police during a terrifying pursuit.

Carl Hartley also sped through a red light at 80mph in Blackpool and almost collided with another vehicle at a junction.

At one stage he even switched off his lights before finally stopping. Hartley ran off, but was chased on foot and caught.

A judge said it was pure luck that no one had been seriously injured by his actions, while police branded him “reckless”.

Preston Crown court heard that he was also over the drink drive limit at the time.

Hartley, 24, appeared for sentencing, having admitted offences of dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving with excess alcohol.

The car chase happened on August 31 last year.

Paul Cummings, prosecuting, said police were near Squires Gate Lane, South Shore, when they first saw a car travelling at high speed.

The vehicle was going so fast that an officer couldn’t catch it, the court was told.

Colleagues were informed and at the junction of Midgeland Road and Progress Way Hartley’s car went through a red light at about 80mph in a 30mph zone.

Hartley almost lost control of the Ford Mondeo on a raised traffic island, damaging the underside of the car.

An officer gave pursuit with his lights and siren on but Hartley failed to stop.

He was then pursued along the A583 from Blackpool to Preston at speeds of up to 115mph.

The speed limit on the road is 50mph.

At one point, the court heard, he switched off his lights before finally stopping.

A police helicopter had been called in for support.

Hartley stopped the car, got out and ran off, but was eventually caught.

He was found to be over the drink drive limit when his breath was checked.

Judge, Recorder Roger Farley, told Hartley: “It is a matter of pure chance that serious injury or worse wasn’t caused by your driving.”

Rachel Woods, defending, said what happened had been very much out of character.

She told the court: “He is thoroughly ashamed and remorseful for being so completely stupid. The purpose of the driving was to avoid the police.

“He was panicking. It was more out of good fortune than anything else that nobody was injured.

“At the time of the offences he was going through a particularly stressful period”.

Afterwards Hartley, of Thorntrees Avenue, Lea, Preston, had imposed a self imposed driving ban by selling the car, the court was told.

He was given a year’s prison sentence, suspended for a 12 months with 200 hours unpaid work.

Hartley was also banned from driving for two years.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police, said: “These reckless actions of the driver could have resulted in a serious accident and put his own safety and the safety of other road users at great risk.”