Banned driver spared jail after leading police on 70mph chase

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Banned driver Leanne Tarry jumped three red traffic lights and hit 70mph as she tried to shake off police near Sutton, a court heard.

When police finally boxed in her Peugeot, she jumped into the back seat and claimed the driver had run off, Nottingham Crown Court heard – her mother and a friend were passengers and all refused to open the doors for police.

However, officers knew she was at the wheel when spotted on July 9, at about 1am, on the A60 near Sutton.

After reaching 70mph, the car was halted when an unmarked patrol car pulled in front and the driver signalled her to stop.

Faye Mellor, prosecuting, said: “The officer got out and went to approach the Peugeot. She revved it and drove off. A police pursuit began and they activated their sirens.”

During the chase, Tarry drove through three red traffic lights and pulled straight out at a give-way junction.

She reached 70mph in a built-up area and two taxi drivers had to pull over to their side of the road to avoid a collision.

On a blind summit, near the A38 Mansfield Road junction, she crossed the central white line.

Eventually other police cars got involved and managed to box her in on Mansfield Road, Skegby.

At this point, 27-year-old Tarry scrambled into the back seat and claimed the driver had escaped.

Miss Mellor said: “This didn’t fool anybody.”

The court heard Tarry recorded 63 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath in a breath test at the police station - the legal limit is 35mcg.

Checks revealed Tarry had been banned that January for drink driving and should not have been at the wheel.

She admitted dangerous driving; driving while disqualified; having no insurance.

Rebecca Coleman, mitigating, said Tarry had been the victim of violence in the home. She feared her former partner might be released on the day after the driving offence. Instead, he got a life sentence.

Tarry had been visiting relatives and had no need to drive.

Miss Coleman said: “She was not feeling drunk, but knew she should not have been driving, not only because she had some drink, but because she was disqualified from doing so.

“She made what can only be described as a foolish decision to drive away. It was out of sheer fear and panic.

“No one was injured and no damage was caused. Here was the action of a very scared young woman.”

At the time, Tarry had not been on a special course which outlines the perils of drink driving. But she has now done so.

Miss Coleman said: “She says she would never dream of committing offences of this nature ever again.”

Tarry, of Elder Street, Sutton, was given a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years.

She was banned from driving for three years and will have to take an extended test if she wants to take to the roads again. She must also spend 25 days getting help from probation officers.

Sentencing, Mr Recorder Stuart Sprawson told her: “It was more luck than judgment on your behalf that nobody was hurt.”