Professional motocross rider four times over cocaine limit when he crashed van during West Yorkshire Police chase

A professional motocross rider tested four times above the legal limit for cocaine after he crashed a transit van during a dangerous police chase.

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 6:00 am

Jordan Eccles failed to stop when police saw him speeding while talking into his mobile phone.

A court was shown police helicopter footage of the incident as Eccles crashed into a wall and continued to put other road users in danger.

Eccles sped off after officers put on blue lights and signalled for him to stop on Barnsley Road, South Elmsall.

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Leeds Crown Court

An eight-minute chase then followed in which Eccles caused other drivers to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

He drove on the wrong side of the road and failed to stop at junctions.

Leeds Crown Court was told the defendant then drove above the speed limit and collided with a wall on Broad Lane.

The entire front bumper of the van fell off and other parts of the vehicle were strewn across the road.

Eccles continued to try to get away from police as black smoke came out of the exhaust.

The 21-year-old eventually pulled over on Stockingate.

The incident took place around 9pm on June 21 last year.

A roadside drug test showed him to be four times over the legal limit for cocaine.

Eccles was interviewed and said he had taken the class A drug the previous day as he celebrated his 21st birthday.

The defendant said he thought he was fine to drive the next day and did not understand how the drug could still be in his system.

Eccles, of Holmfield Close, Pontefract, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving while over the limit for cocaine.

He has no previous convictions.

Catherine Duffy, mitigating, said Eccles was a professional motocross rider and had won three British championships in the sport.

Miss Duffy said Eccles was on antidepressants at the time of the incident after splitting up with his girlfriend.

His future in the sport was also uncertain at the time as he was recovering from serious injuries sustained in a fall while racing.

The barrister said Eccles had returned to competition and had a contract with a new team.

She added: "If he goes to prison it will be cancelled."

Miss Duffy said it was the first and only time Eccles had taken cocaine and he had done so out of peer pressure during his birthday celebrations.

The court was told Eccles also ran a motocross academy which would suffer if he was locked up.

Miss Duffy continued: "The van had been loaned to him by sponsors.

"He did not think it would be insured. He panicked and drove off."

Eccles was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years.

He must also do 200 hours of unpaid work and take part in a rehabilitation activity requirement.

Eccles was banned from driving for 12 months.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: "Day in and day out, the courts have to deal with people who drive dangerously.

"They cause danger to themselves. They cause danger to innocent members of the public. They cause danger to the police.

"The courts have to deter people from driving in the way you did.

"You are clearly a young man with enormous talent in one particular area,

"You should fulfil that potential.

"If you behave like this again nothing will save you from prison.