A DRUG driver at the wheel for the second time in three months while under the influence of cocaine led police on a dangerous chase around a town shortly after midday.

Durham Crown Court heard that police on mobile patrol in Peterlee on February 28 saw Malcolm Kennedy driving a black Vauxhall Corsa with registration plates suspected to have been cloned from a vehicle in the south.

The officers applied the police vehicle’s blue lights and siren signalling for Kennedy to stop, but he accelerated away, moved into the opposite carriageway and overtook several cars.

Ellen Wright, prosecuting, said the Corsa reached 70-miles per hour in a 30-limit zone, before braking sharply and turning right onto Howletch Lane.

Kennedy drove at 50mph past a t-junction where vehicles were waiting to pull out and others were in position to make a turn.

Miss Wright said Kennedy then mounted a kerb and drove onto a grassed verge to take a left turn onto Neville Road, “showing complete disregard for road users and pedestrians.”

He took a roundabout in the wrong direction heading into the path of oncoming vehicles, forcing them to take avoiding action, on Brancepeth Way.

Kennedy braked heavily, again, while travelling at 50mph, and made two sharp left hand turns in a residential area, before hitting a bump on grass, causing the Corsa to “bounce”, with all four wheels seen to leave the ground.

It skidded to a stop in a cul-de-sac and Kennedy ran off, with one of the two officers from the police vehicle giving chase.

Miss Wright said as the officer caught up with Kennedy he told him to stop and drew his taser.

Upon arrest, Kennedy tested positive in a roadside “swipe’ test for cocaine, but claimed he had not been driving the Corsa.

He refused to give a blood sample when taken to the police station, citing medical reasons, and when asked to undergo a urine test, as an alternative, he claimed he was unable to and threw the cup onto the floor.

Known to be a banned driver with no insurance, Kennedy gave “no comment” replies when interviewed.

Miss Wright the defendant has 35 convictions for 86 offences, with a “long history” of motoring matters going back to 1998.

He was jailed for 18 weeks in November and banned from driving, for a similar offence of driving while unfit through drugs, while disqualified and uninsured.

The court heard he was released in January, but after the latest offence he was recalled to prison to complete the rest of that sentence.

Kennedy, 40, of Marine Crescent, Blackhall, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to provide a sample for analysis and no insurance over the February 28 chase.

Read more: Drug driver fled Murton crash scene leaving two officers injured

Jane Waugh, in mitigation, conceded her client, “clearly has a bad record”, much of it in the last two years while subject to an addiction to crack cocaine and heroin, for which he is on a methadone programme.

Miss Waugh urged Judge Robert Spragg to give Kennedy a suspended sentence to enable him to work with the Probation Service to overcome his drug misuse.

But, describing him as “a prolific offender”, Judge Spragg said Kennedy put, “a lot of people at risk of harm” that day.

He imposed a 14-month immediate prison sentence and banned Kennedy from driving for 55 months.

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