A BANNED driver who led police on a high-speed chase through residential streets before crashing into a garden wall has been spared jail.
Marc Keenan, 27, drove at speeds of up to 60mph in a 30mph zone as he tried to flee the police, Teesside Crown Court heard.
He ended up crashing into a garden wall, causing £1,800 worth of damage.
But a judge spared Keenan immediate jail after hearing he had “turned a corner”.
Police were alerted to Keenan, who was banned from driving, when he was driving a Vauxhall Tigra in an aggressive manner in Charterhouse Street, Hartlepool, in the early hours of the morning.
Police saw him on Oxford Road at around 3.40am on Sunday, January 27 last year, but he sped away at 40mph down Kingsley Avenue.
Officers illuminated the blue lights and chased Keenan along Blakelock Gardens, Gloucester Street and Cornwall Street.
Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, said: “In Marlborough Street he got up to 60mph and went straight across the junction with Oxford Road without slowing or stopping at all.”
Soon afterwards, Keenan collided with a garden wall in Caledonian Road.
He was found in the front passenger seat and both air bags had blown.
Miss Jacobs added: “He smelled strongly of intoxicating liquor and was asked to provide a roadside breath test which he refused.”
Keenan admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, as well as having no insurance and failing to provide a breath specimen.
Jim Withyman, mitigating, said Keenan’s last driving offence was in 2009 and he was tackling his alcohol problems.
Mr Withyman said: “He has sorted himself out. He has got a new girlfriend who seems to be a good influence on him.
“He is desperate to change his lifestyle.”
Keenan, of Monkton Road, Hartlepool, was given 15 months prison suspended for 18 months and disqualified from driving for three years.
He was also ordered to pay £260 compensation towards the damaged wall.
Judge Howard Crowson said: “Your problems arise out of the fact you haven’t been dealing with your drink problem until recently.
“Recently you have been co-operating extremely well with the probation service.
“It seems to me we would all be better off if you were to succeed. If I were to lock you up it might set things back.
“So instead I’m going to threaten you with locking you up.
“I think you might have turned a corner, that’s why I’m giving you a chance.
“Don’t prove me wrong.”