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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Carlisle crash driver panicked when he saw police

A teenage driver being followed by police hit 80mph as he drove through Carlisle before crashing into a traffic light.

Martin James Blythe, 19, had reached speeds of around 80mph on Castle Way and had nearly got back to his home in Briar Bank, Belah, when he lost control of his car on a corner and crashed it into the traffic lights.

He finished his journey on foot – “looking quite shocked”, according to a neighbour who witnessed it – and woke up his mother to tell her he had crashed his car and was being chased by the police.

Gerard Rogerson, prosecuting, told the court the police spotted Blythe in his black Renault Clio in the West Walls car park just before midnight on the night of Sunday February 24.

He drove off in a convoy of two other cars, but when he saw the police car he put his hazard warning lights on, accelerated through a railway arch and then sped at about 60mph past a ‘No Entry’ sign before joining Castle Way.

The police lost sight of him there but 10 minutes later the same officers received a call to a car crash about one and a half miles away in Briar Bank, Mr Rogerson said.

When they got there they saw the car involved was the one they had just been chasing.

A woman who saw the crash told them Blythe had run into his home nearby, then been picked up by a car that came to the house.

He was arrested soon afterwards after police stopped that car in Victoria Place, the court heard.

Mr Rogerson said Blythe had been “very frank” when interviewed by the police.

The teenager said that he just “took off for a chase” when he saw the police car, though he knew that “the end result would be that he would lose.”

Blythe, who is unemployed, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and having no insurance.

His defence advocate Chris Toms told the court that Blythe had bought the car only a few days before, and understood he had seven days’ free insurance as part of the deal. But because he was not absolutely sure he was insured, he panicked when he saw the police in the car park.

“He knew there were doubts about the insurance and he didn’t want to put it to the test,” he said.

Blythe was banned from driving for a year, made to do 100 hours unpaid community work and put under an electronically monitored curfew to keep him indoors at home from 9pm to 8am every night for the next three months.

He was also made to pay £85 court costs, with a £60 victim surcharge.

The judge, Recorder Geoffrey Lowe told him: “You made a relatively insignificant incident considerably worse.

“The message must go out that young men should not react like you did when police officers are only going about their duties.”

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