Leeds drink driver jailed over police chase

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A DRINK driver who put the life of his 12-year-old passenger in danger when he span out of control during a police chase has been sent to prison.

Gavin Simpson was jailed for six months after a court heard his van turned 360 degrees during the pursuit when he drove through a pool of water in the road.

“Driving in this manor with a 12-year-old boy in the car put him at risk, the police officers at risk and other road users at risk.”

Judge Tom Bayliss, QC

Leeds Crown Court heard Simpson, 26, was spotted by police officers as he was driving above the 30 mph speed limit on Weeland Road, Knottingley, shortly before midnight on November 28 last year. Simpson ignored officers and drove in the direction of Eggborough. Jessica Strange, prosecuting, said Simpson reached speeds of up to 80 mph and drove on the wrong side of the road, causing an oncoming motorist to swerve out of his way. He overtook vehicles on blind bends but lost control of the van when it ran into water. The vehicle turned 360 degrees as in aquaplaned before hitting the kerb.

Simpson ran from the van, leaving a 12-year-old boy in the vehicle.

He was detained by the officers nearby after being chased. Miss Strange said Simpson appeared drunk but refused to provide a breath specimen.

Simpson, of Cottingley Springs, Leeds, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop, failing to provide a breath specimen, having no insurance and no licence.

The court heard he was subject to a suspended prison sentence at the time of the incident for theft from a vehicle. Michael Devlin, mitigating, said Simpson was in a van which belonged to his friend. He said his client panicked when he saw the police officers because he had been drinking. Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said: “Driving in this manor with a 12-year-old boy in the car put him at risk, the police officers at risk and other road users at risk.”