A TEENAGER has narrowly avoided an immediate prison sentence after he made 'two monumentally stupid decisions' and took police on a high-speed chase while over the drink drive limit.

Robert Landers sped off when he was spotted by officers driving around Darlington in the early hours of the morning.

When they activated their blue lights to get him to pull over he accelerated away before reaching speeds of 120mph trying to shake them off his tail.

The 19-year-old headed out of Darlington town centre towards the A66, taking roundabouts on the wrong side of the road, before heading onto the A67 and speeding towards Yarm.

Teesside Crown Court heard how he eventually pulled over and was arrested as officers pointed Tasers at his chest.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said Landers has 41mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 35 mg.

Landers, of Welbeck Avenue, Darlington, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol and driving without insurance following his arrest on May 13 this year.

Richard Herrmann, in mitigation, said his client had been kicked out of the family home as his parents were so ashamed about his behaviour but have since welcomed him back to ensure they keep him on the 'straight and narrow'.

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced Landers to 12 months in custody, suspended for two years.

"You committed two monumentally stupid decisions," he said. "The first was to go anywhere near a car when you had consumed alcohol, in fairness to you, you hadn't consumed a grossly disproportionate amount, but you are a striking example of how little alcohol it takes to be over the limit.

"People who have consumed alcohol are not fit to drive cars that's because driving a car is in effect driving a lethal machine. One should not be in charge of a lethal machine when one cannot make clear headed decisions.

"What you did when the police tried to pull you over is a clear example of the stupid decisions people make whilst in drink and it was shockingly poor judgement.

"You raced off as if somehow you would get away from the problem. One reason it was such a dumb decision was even if you had somehow got away from the police, you had not got away from the problem as it was your father's car."

Landers was banned from driving for 18 months and was ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work.

The judge said it 'was shocking to hear about this driving, speeds touching up to 120mph' and driving the wrong way around roundabouts.

He added: "How could you have faced yourself if your driving had caused the death of your friends; how could you have faced your parents; how could you have faced their parents – that is the message I want you to learn from this experience."

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