Hartlepool danger driver ran into the sea to try and escape police after high-speed chase in Land Rover Freelander

A driver ran into the sea to try and escape police after leading officers on a dangerous high-speed chase after refusing to pull over because he had been drinking.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 5:17 pm

Mark Ford, 32, drove at speeds of 70mph in 30mph areas of Hartlepool, went through a red light and drove across a field in an attempt to outrun the law.

He made off from police in a black Land Rover Freelander at around 3am on June 8 when officers tried to pull him over.

Officers had noticed damage to the vehicle’s front bumper and its headlights weren’t on.

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Mark Ford drove at 70mph on Powlett Road which has a 30mph speed limit. Picture: Google
Mark Ford drove at 70mph on Powlett Road which has a 30mph speed limit. Picture: Google

After the chase eventually came to an end, Ford ran into the sea to try to avoid arrest. He then twice refused to give a breath sample.

He was banned from driving for a year at Teesside Crown Court and handed a suspended prison sentence.

Prosecutor Mahmood Awan said: “This is a prolonged period of bad driving. The defendant was pursued by police and at high speeds.”

Mr Mahmood said the road conditions were very wet at the time from heavy rain.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Police on patrol first noticed the vehicle on Throston Grange Lane.

They tried to pull him over on Easington Road but after appearing to stop, Ford drove off along Powlett Road at 70mph and almost lost control on Lancaster Road.

He continued along Cleveland Road where he went through a red light, West View Road and across a field towards Old Cemetery Road where he twice tried to drive over a steep embankment.

“The defendant exited and fled on foot,” said Mr Mahmood. “He went down a steep embankment and entered the sea.

“Officers were able to coax him out and again he attempted to flee, however he was eventually detained by officers.”

Ford, of John Howe Gardens, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.

Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, said the incident was “wholly out of character” and Ford worked hard on his family’s farm.

Sentencing him to 12 months prison suspended for 12 months, Judge Howard Crowson said: “Fortunately no other person was inconvenienced, but the fact police had to follow you and chase you means this is serious.”

Ford must also do 120 hours of unpaid work and complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.