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Whitehaven drink-driver turned off lights during high speed night-time police pursuit

A DRINK-driver who switched off his car lights during a high speed Whitehaven police pursuit has been banned from the road for three years.

Robert Thomas Ryan, 37, was followed by a PC as he drove “round and round” the town streets just before midnight on January 5.

Ryan’s Audi emerged from a blind junction “too fast” and then made several sharp turns. Despite the officer signalling for him to stop, Ryan drove on and hit a top speed of around 60mph in a 30mph zone before temporarily switching off the Audi’s lights.

Carlisle Crown Court was told the PC drew a Taser after Ryan halted his car and got out, and he had to be “red-dotted” with the device after initially failing to stop walking.

Ryan – a previously convicted drink-driver – was almost twice the legal alcohol breath limit. A small amount of heroin was located inside a jacket pocket. He admitted drink-driving, dangerous driving, and possessing an illegal substance he’d thought was a lower class of drug.

The court heard a “long history of offending” was linked to alcohol abuse, and that Ryan – self-employed in the building trade – had reverted to drink after receiving a “crippling tax demand”. He had a partner and family of four children aged six to 15 years and, Judge Nicholas Barker was told, imprisonment would have a “devastating impact” on them all.

After hearing mitigation, Judge Barker imposed a two-year community order comprising rehabilitation, a six-month alcohol treatment course, 100 hours’ unpaid work and a two-month night-time curfew. He was also given a 36-month driving ban, and must pass an extended re-test.

“On 5th January you behaved more in line with the ages of your children than you did with your 37 years,” said the judge. “Your driving was clearly, obviously dangerous.”

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