A drink-driver who led police on a chase through residential streets after leaving a pub has been spared an immediate jail sentence despite a judge saying he was lucky not to have killed someone.
District Judge Graham Wilkinson said Terry Dickens’s family would have struggled to cope without him, so he handed him a suspended prison sentence.
Dickens sped away after seeing police following him in Shale Street, Bilston, and led them through surrounding roads including Broad Street and Smith Street for about three minutes, Wolverhampton Magistrates Court heard. At one point he mounted a pavement but continued to flee until eventually pulling up and surrendering.
The 38-year-old, who is unemployed, had borrowed the Mercedes M Class and was not insured to drive it, said District Judge Wilkinson.
He was more than twice the drink-drive limit and risked killing a passer-by, the judge said. But he told Dickens, of Myrtle Street, Parkfields, Wolverhampton, that he was persuaded that sending him to prison would have a ‘significant effect’ on his wife and five children.
The court heard Dickens had been drinking in a pub on August 27 before leaving at before midnight.
The judge said: “He was driving drunk. He obviously knew he was in trouble because when police tried to stop him he decided to do his best to get away.”
The court heard he had a previous conviction for drink driving in 2007 and had been caught driving while disqualified a number of times since then.
Mr Andrew Brocklehurst, defending, said Dickens had started drinking more recently after his daughter fell ill with a rare heart condition.
Dickens was given a 14-week sentence suspended for two years for drink driving and a £165 fine for driving with no insurance. He admitted both charges and also failing to stop for a police officer, for which there was no separate penalty.
He was banned from driving for four years and ordered to pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.