Speeding drink driver fleeing police overtook school bus on blind bend

Kirkby Road, Hemsworth, where the police chase started. 'Image: Google
Kirkby Road, Hemsworth, where the police chase started. 'Image: Google

A DRINK driver who overtook a yellow school bus at speed on a blind bend during a police chase has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Casey Sutcliffe was almost twice the drink drive limit when he led police on a 24-minute pursuit in a 2002 black Audi, Leeds Crown Court heard.

He continued to drive dangerously after police used a Stinger device to burst all four of the car's tyres.

Prosecutor, Bashir Ahmed said Sutcliffe, 27, failed to stop for police on Kirkby Road, Hemsworth near Wakefield, just after 4pm on Wednesday February 13.

Mr Ahmed said Sutcliffe drove at 60mph in 30mph zones and overtook a yellow school bus on a blind bend while he was travelling at more than 50mph.

The court heard the driver of a vehicle heading towards Sutcliffe had to brake sharply.

Mr Ahmed said Sutcliffe also drove the wrong way around two roundabouts and mounted footpaths on at least two occasions.

Mr Ahmed said: "On one occasion pedestrians had to step back into a garden to avoid the defendant's vehicle.

"On another occasion there were children on the pavement who had to move away to avoid any potential collision with the defendant's vehicle."

Police deployed a stinger device which burst all four of the car's tyres, but Sutcliffe continued to drive on the wheels' rims - leaving a trail of smoke.

Mr Ahmed said Sutcliffe narrowly avoided an elderly man on a mobility scooter and went through a red light at a busy junction.

Sutcliffe told police he had fled officers because he did not have a driving licence and decided to "take the chase."

Sutcliffe, of Visitt Lane, Hemsworth, admitted dangerous driving, drink driving, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

The court heard Sutcliffe has a history of drug and alcohol problems.

Mitigating, Jessica Mae Randell, said he is seeking help and has now been sober for more than five weeks, adding: "He is extremely remorseful."

Handing Sutcliffe a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, Judge Christopher Batty told him: "This was shocking driving. To do it while you are twice over the drink drive limit is appalling. It is only good fortune that no-one was injured, or worse."

Sutcliffe was also handed a six-month 8pm to 6am curfew and a three-year driving ban.

He must complete a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 20 rehabilitation activity days.