A 'BLIND drunk' driver who rammed into a police car during a high-speed chase has avoided being jailed.

Daniel Foster was told by Judge Jonathan Carroll he was lucky to escape jail when he originally appeared before him last October.

When Foster returned to court to hear his deferred sentence, the judge said: "He must have caught me on a good day – he rammed a police car – I'm amazed that I didn't jail him at the time."

Anthony Pettengell, prosecuting, said Foster was spotted by police driving in Easington at around 5am on October 5 last year and attempted to flee when the officers activated their blue lights.

The court heard Foster sped off taking the pursuing police on a high-speed circuit in and around Easington before heading onto country lanes where he switched his headlights off in a desperate attempt to lose them.

Mr Pettengell said Foster rammed his car into one of the pursuing police vehicles before jumping out of his Seat Leon.

He said: "The car came to a stop and the defendant jumped out and ran off, he jumped over a barbed wire fence to try to avoid arrest."

The court heard the 30-year-old then refused to take a breath test despite smelling strongly of alcohol.

Foster, of George Avenue, Easington, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen following his arrest last year.

In mitigation, Martin Towers said his client had worked closely with the probation service to resolve his mental health issues and on rebuilding his relationship with his child.

He said Foster was due to restart work next month on a year-long project in Devon.

Sitting at Teesside Crown Court, Judge Carroll said: "Having taken a chance on him, it's rare to see someone perform as well as he has done and I'm not going to risk his future by making his employment difficult."

He sentenced Foster to 12 months custody, suspended for 18 months and ordered him to pay £1,000 compensation to the police officer.

The judge added: "The reality of the matter is that you were blind drunk at the time you set off at speed after seeing the blue lights.

"What happened next was 20 minute chase through residential areas at excessive speed."

The was also banned from driving for 12 months.