A rogue motorist who had been on the run from the law since the summer of 2017 was set free to go home to his two day old baby.
Scott Dixon, 35, from Hartlepool, was a drug-user and grieving for his dead father when he was arrested for dangerous driving in a 77mph police chase through the town.
He failed a roadside drugs test showing traces of cannabis and cocaine, and he was bailed, but he failed to turn up at Teesside Magistrates' Court.
But since his arrest on July 11, 2017, he met and fell in love with a restaurant worker and they had a baby this week, Teesside Crown Court was told.
Dixon is now drug free and has given up alcohol, and he has not committed any more offences in the following 21 months under the good influence of his partner, said Andrew White defending.
A police onboard CCTV film of the dangerous driving showed Dixon had switched off the lights on his Vauxhall Vectra in an attempt to evade arrest, said prosecutor Jenny Haigh.
Police were looking for a Vectra or Astra at 1.30am on Owton Manor when they signalled for him to stop, but he drove off at speed.
The car went over speed bumps at 75mph and on Sinclair Road a bag was thrown out of a window before the vehicle stopped and a man and a woman jumped out and ran off in opposite directions.
Dixon stayed in the car and he was arrested.
The bag was later found to be empty.
A warrant was executed on February 26 this year and Dixon was arrested by police, the court heard.
Mr White said that Dixon had fallen in with the wrong crowd, but a pre-sentence report recommended that he was worth giving a chance because of his offence-free year and his remorse.
He said that Dixon made no attempt to evade the law, he remained at his home address.
Judge Howard Crowson told him:”We watched that (the video) together and it was a pretty appalling piece of driving with passengers in the car.
”But this isn’t July 17 and I am prepared to give you a chance with a suspended sentence, but if there is any breach it will come back before me and you will start with 12 months.”
Dixon, of Sitwell Walk, Hartlepool, was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years with 20 days rehabilitation activities, and disqualified for two years and until he passes an extended driving test after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to provide a second specimen for testing, and driving with no insurance.