Banned driver denies being at wheel in 108mph Hartlepool police chase

GUILTY: Peter Owens.
GUILTY: Peter Owens.

A BANNED driver has denied he was behind the wheel of a car which raced away from police at speeds of up to 108mph.

The Subaru Forester was chased by six police cars, a dogs van and the force helicopter and raced through residential streets in Hartlepool at more than twice the speed limit, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The car initially sped away from police on the A19 south of Hartlepool, before turning off at the A179 and racing at 71mph in the 30mph limit in West View Road.

The vehicle attracted the attention of traffic cops because it had camouflage paintwork, a jury heard.

“It was about 4.39am,” said Paul Abrahams, prosecuting. “The car passed a traffic patrol parked at the side of the A19, south of Middlesbrough.

“There was a chase which took the car via a circuitous route to the north of Hartlepool.

“Four men, each of whom had a lamp and a dog, were arrested.

“Among those was Peter Owens, who the prosecution say was the driver.

“He denies that, but admits he owned the Subaru, and he admits being a passenger.”

The jury was told the Subaru was driven normally until Pc Martin Tranmer of Cleveland Police illuminated the blue lights on his traffic car.

“It accelerated to more than 100mph as we passed the A689 junction of the A19,” said Pc Tranmer. “I was doing 108mph at one point and just keeping pace.

“The car took the A179 at Elwick, turning towards Hartlepool.

“It reached speeds of 71mph in West View Road, which has a 30mph limit.”

The jury was told the Subaru entered Miers Drive before taking to a grassed area, next to the Oakesway Industrial Estate.

The four men were arrested as they left the car on foot.

Six police cars, a dogs van and the helicopter were involved in the chase.

Sergeant David Carr was a passenger in a police car which met the Subaru on Miers Avenue.

“It was coming towards us,” he said: “I got a clear view of the chest and head of driver.

“The driver was a man I know to be Peter David Owens.

“I have known Mr Owens in my capacity as a police officer for more than six years.

“The last time I dealt with him before seeing him that morning was about a month earlier.”

Owens, 44, of Miers Avenue, Hartlepool, denies dangerous driving, and driving while disqualified, both on June 26 last year.

The trial continues.