Drug driver who led police on high-speed A12 chase avoids prison
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
An Ipswich man who led police on a high-speed chase on the A12 and through a Suffolk village after taking cocaine has avoided jail.
Ipswich Crown Court heard how Lewis Gunn, 23, was driving a Mini Cooper on March 13, 2020, just before 2am on the A12 northbound.
The car was flagged by an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera due to the fact the MOT had expired, and police began following the vehicle.
Officers put their blue lights on and signaled for Gunn to stop at a service station along the northbound carriageway, Gareth Hughes, prosecuting, told the court.
But when officers were getting out of the vehicle, Gunn drove away at speed.
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Police pursued the Mini Cooper, which travelled at speeds of up to 90mph on a single carriageway road before reaching 130mph on the dual carriageway.
Gunn turned off the A12 towards Campsea Ashe, travelling at 65mph in a 30mph zone through the village before turning right onto the B1069.
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Police then lost sight of the Mini Cooper, and the pursuit lasted around eight minutes, the court heard.
Gunn, of Nacton Road, Ipswich, handed himself into police at 3.25am and tested positive for cocaine at the roadside.
In police interview, Gunn accepted he had driven erratically and in a dangerous way.
He told officers he had panicked as he had consumed some cocaine around three hours earlier, Mr Hughes told the court.
Gunn, who previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drug driving, had no previous convictions and a clean licence prior to the incident.
Craig Marchant, mitigating, said Gunn had displayed "genuine remorse" for his actions, and had apologised to the police officers involved in the chase.
Mr Marchant said Gunn had handed himself in to police less than an hour-and-a-half after the incident.
Sentencing Gunn on Thursday, Recorder John Brooke-Smith told him: "Anyone hearing or reading about the events of that night would be absolutely astonished to hear that no-one was killed, injured or any damage was caused."
Recorder Brooke-Smith said the offences were so serious that they did cross the custody threshold but he was prepared to suspend the sentence.
Gunn was handed six months' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work.
He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months, and must take an extended re-test to gain his licence back.
Gunn must also pay £340 in costs.