Drugged driver had pregnant girlfriend in car during high-speed police chase
A drugged driver who had his pregnant girlfriend in his car during a 70mph police chase jumped from the moving vehicle leaving it to crash into a telegraph pole.
Daryl Forster, who fled to escape pursuing police, was branded 'selfish and cowardly' by a judge.
Banned driver Forster jumped from his Vauxhall Vectra after leading police on a chase around the Owton Manor Estate in Hartlepool for about 10 minutes, Teesside Crown Court heard.
"The Vectra first came to the attention of a police patrol at about 11am as it was driving towards Seaton Carew," said Jenny Haigh, prosecuting.
"It had a spacesaver spare wheel on the front, and in the opinion of the police patrol the driver was speeding.
"He illuminated his blue lights to indicate for it to stop, but it did not do so."
The court heard the Vectra was driven at speeds in excess of 70mph in 30mph and 40mph residential roads as it headed towards Wynyard Road in Hartlepool.
"It went the wrong way around a roundabout and forced other vehicles to take avoiding action," said Ms Haigh.
"The car then did what the officer describes as 'laps' of the residential area around Wynyard and Catcote roads, mostly at speeds of between 40 and 50mph.
"The car slowed as it entered Motherwell Road, and Forster jumped out and fled as the car was still moving, leaving it to crash into a telegraph pole.
"He was arrested after a short chase on foot.
"A roadside drugs swipe was positive, and some cannabis bush was found in the car."
Forster, 27, of Irvine Road, Hartlepool, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving with drugs over the legal limit, and possession of a class B drug, all on April 28.
He admitted breach of a previous suspended sentence imposed for driving while disqualified.
Forster wept in the video booth of Durham Prison as his barrister, Jon Harley, spoke on his behalf.
"This was an exceptionally bad piece of dangerous driving," said Mr Harley.
"There are many aggravating features, and Mr Forster asks for no sympathy, he realises it will be a prison sentence today.
"One person who does deserve some sympathy is his partner.
"She will be left alone with a baby and the couple's other young son.
"Mr Forster is a self-employed builder who was in the process of renovating a house for his family.
"He took the stupid decision to drive to get supplies for this project.
"When the police saw him, he panicked because he thought capture would mean missing the birth of the baby, and missing his other son's first birthday."
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton jailed Forster for 15 months.
The judge told him: "What you did was selfish and cowardly, you were thinking only of yourself.
"Only this week I had occasion to deal with another case in which a driver killed a pedestrian in similar circumstances.
"It is barely short of a miracle that you did not injure anyone or cause a serious collision."
Forster was banned from driving for 30 months,
He must take an extended driving test if he wishes to drive after the ban finishes.