Police chase driver 200 miles off course — (This is Devon)

SSRI Ed note: Man on antidepressants flagged by police for speeding travelled 200 miles from his home, he fails to stop, blames the meds.

Original article no longer available

This is Devon

Friday, October 17, 2008, 09:18

A SLEEP-DEPRIVED motorist hurrying to get home to his own bed led police on a 130 mph chase down the M5 and the A380 before eventually being brought to a halt.

Exeter Crown Court heard 30-year-old Iain Davidson was 200 miles off course when police first spotted him heading towards Torquay.

Prosecutor Alex Allsop said despite officers in a marked car having their blue light flashing and sirens blaring, Davidson failed to stop or slow down for 15 miles.

He weaved in and out of traffic, tailgated another driver and almost collided with a van in front of him.

Eventually, other police vehicles were deployed and Davidson was boxed in on the A380 at Ashcombe near Dawlish.

When quizzed by police, Davidson said he was tired and could only sleep in his own bed and that was why he was hurrying to get home.

It then transpired that he had lost his way between Yorkshire and Kent and was 200 miles away from his bed.

Mitigating, Lee Bremridge said Davidson, who worked as a carer with the elderly and in a pub, was suffering from sleep deprivation at the time of the offence and was also taking an anti-depressant drug which made he behave in an odd way.

Since the August incident he had stopped taking the drug and his condition had improved, the court was told.

Mr Bremridge said Davidson had never been in trouble with the law before and accepted this was a serious piece of driving which passed the custody threshold.

Davidson, from Tonbridge in Kent, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was given a six-months prison sentence suspended for two years with a 12-months supervision order.

He was also banned from driving for two years and will have to take an extended test and provide confirmation from his doctor that he is fit to drive before being allowed back on the road.

Passing sentence, Recorder Sarah Munro QC told Davidson: “You drove at extremely dangerous speeds and were pursued by the police for 15 miles.

“You executed dangerous manoeuvres and any collision could have proved fatal.

“The only good news is that a crash did not happen or you would have been before the court for causing death by dangerous driving. It beggars belief how you found yourself in Devon when you were travelling from Yorkshire to Kent. This was an extraordinarily bad piece of driving but I take into account your good character and your instant admissions to the police, coupled with your guilty plea at the first opportunity.”