Drink driver in high speed police chase across Leeds

Officers first saw Rushforth in his BMW on Elland Road in the early hours of May 20 this year.
Officers first saw Rushforth in his BMW on Elland Road in the early hours of May 20 this year.

A drink-driver who was involved in a high speed police chase through Leeds has been locked up for 14 months.

James Rushforth reached more than double the speed limit as he tried to get away from officers who signalled for him to stop when they spotted him “weaving” along the carriageway.

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Daniel Lee, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court officers first saw Rushforth in his BMW on Elland Road, Beeston, in the early hours of May 20 this year.

Mr Lee said the officers also became concerned as they believed he was not insured to drive the car.

Rushforth, who had a passenger in the vehicle, sped off and reached 90mph in a 40mph zone.

Mr Daniel said Rushforth failed to stop at a junction and went through red lights.

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Officers lost sight of Rushforth’s vehicle as he headed towards Armley Gyratory and along Armley Road.

As the officers travelled along Armley Road they saw the BMW parked up and two men walking away from it.

Both men ran off but Rushforth was chased and detained by officers.

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The prosecutor said the defendant was breathalysed as he smelled strongly of alcohol and was found to be over the legal limit.

Rushforth, 27, of Stockwell Avenue, Knaresborough, pleaded guilty to drink-driving, dangerous driving and having no insurance.

Nicholas Hammond, mitigating, said Rushforth had panicked and driven away as he believed he was not insured to drive the car.

He said his client had pleaded guilty to the offences at an early stage. Mr Hammond added: “There is no doubt that this was a piece of bad driving.”

Jailing Rushforth, Judge Kama Melly QC said: “This was appalling driving at high speed when you had a passenger in your vehicle.

“This offending is so serious that only an immediate prison sentence can justified.”