He’s the drink-driver who made a V-sign at a motorist – who just happened to be Durham’s chief constable in an unmarked car. That makes Tracy Kelsey Very stupid.

BRITAIN’S most arrogant drink-driver offered a defiant two-fingered salute as he sped past a fellow motorist at 70mph on the A1.

But that motorist just happened to be the Chief Constable of Durham Police, who promptly arrested serial offender Tracy Kelsey.

Loading article content

The 45-year-old, from Darlington, who has five previous drink-drive convictions, was four times over the limit as he accelerated up behind Jon Stoddart’s unmarked police car on the northbound A1.

He then undertook Mr Stoddart at 70mph and made the two-fingered salute before aggressively swerving in front of his car and braking, causing the chief constable and another motorist to take evasive action.

Yesterday, magistrates told Kelsey, who was given a suspended 12-week jail sentence and banned from driving for five years, that he was lucky not to have killed anyone.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Stoddart told The Northern Echo: “I noticed his car coming.

He accelerated behind me and screeched up, then undertook me.

“It was fairly heavy traffic.

I peeped him because he was driving badly and he stuck his fingers up at me.

“He weaved in front of me and braked suddenly and as a result myself and another car had to take evasive action.”

The incident happened at 5.15pm on February 8 and Mr Stoddart, fearing other road users might be in danger, activated his lights and siren.

“He tried to drive off, but as it turned out, he wasn’t in a position to drive very fast.”

He signalled him to leave the A1 at Durham Services near Bowburn, County Durham, but Kelsey was so drunk he tried to stop on the roundabout in rush hour traffic.

“I got him to stop at Coxhoe and opened the door and said ‘you are locked up for drinkdriving’.

“He stunk like a classic ale bar.”

But the arrest did not go totally as planned.

Mr Stoddart revealed that as he put Kelsey in his own car to wait for the arrival of traffic police, the hapless drunk sat on a pair of sunglasses his wife had bought him for Christmas – and bent them.

Yesterday, Kelsey, of Selaby House, Spring Hill, Darlington, admitted drink-driving when he appeared before Consett magistrates.

It was his sixth conviction for the offence – the first being in July 1978 at the age of 14 – together with three convictions for failing to take a breath test.

The court was told Kelsey had agreed to take a Peugeot 306 from his home to Coxhoe to drop off a friend, despite drinking heavily.

Tony Jackson, in mitigation, argued that a prison sentence would cost Kelsey his job and his council house.

He said: “His friend asked him for a lift and my client said ‘no’ several times, but eventually he gave in, got behind the wheel and drove him.

“In this case, the old adage ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’ does not apply. It was a stupid thing for him to have done. He was not thinking clearly.

“He managed to get to Coxhoe from Darlington and you may wonder how from the reading he has done that.

“He was stopped by no greater police authority than the chief constable.”

Chairman of the bench Alan Gilligan told him: “Four times the drink drive limit is a seriously high level.

“You are very lucky that you did not kill someone. You could have been facing a charge of manslaughter.

“There is enough publicity to tell people not to drink and drive and you are either oblivious to it or you do not care.”

The court heard Kelsey told the Probation Service that he drank ten pints of lager a day.

“It makes us wonder if you have ever been under the alcohol level for driving,” said Mr Gilligan.

Kelsey was also ordered to undergo a course for drinkimpaired drivers and pay £85 costs.

Mr Stoddart said: “He clearly needs some support and some help. He was clearly a menace to all road users and a real risk of harming other people.

“I am glad that the court has put him on some kind of sanction to address his offending behaviour.

“The morale of the story is to think twice before you stick your fingers up at somebody.”