Drug driver jailed after country lane car chase

PUBLISHED: 13:50 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:08 31 January 2019

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Archant

“You drove dangerously for 15 minutes or so, you crossed double white lines and narrowly missed a tractor. This was a bad, bad, bit of driving.”

A drug driver has been jailed after he led police on a 15 minute chase through country lanes in Somerset in a stolen car.

Joshua Conabeare, previously of Exmouth, narrowly missed a tractor as he drove at more than twice the speed limit, crossed double white lines, and carved up other motorists.

He took a VW Golf from outside an off licence in Crediton, Devon, and fled from police after they spotted him driving it in Chard.

He refused to stop and sped off on a route that took him through Chillington, South Petherton, Montacute and Over Stratton before he was trapped on a farm track.

Conabeare, 22, of Angel Hill, Tiverton, admitted taking a car without authority, driving while disqualified, dangerous driving and refusing a drug test.

He was jailed for six months and banned from driving for a year by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “You drove dangerously for 15 minutes or so, you crossed double white lines and narrowly missed a tractor. This was a bad, bad, bit of driving.”

READ MORE: Jail possible for joyrider who led police on car chase

Caroline Bolt, prosecuting, said the VW was taken overnight on May 4 last year from outside Threshers in Crediton and spotted by police in the centre of Chard at 5pm the next day.

The officer tried to stop him using lights and siren but Conabeare drove off on the A30 at twice the 30mph limit and at 80mph in a 60mph limit before braking sharply and taking off into country lanes.

He tailgated other drivers and overtook dangerously, crossing double white lines and at one point went past a country pub at well over the speed limit.

There was a near miss with a tractor and other cars had to brake or take evasive action before he went down a lane which was a cul-de-sac.

He ran off but was caught and gave up after being threatened with a taser. He smelled strongly of cannabis but refused to give a blood test.

Conabeare has convictions for 20 previous offences, including joyriding as a passenger on a double decker bus which was taken from Exmouth bus station by a 17-year-old friend in 2017 and crashed it into traffic lights on Gypsy Lane.

Barry White, defending, said the offences happened at a time when a series of events in his life had created a perfect storm. He had lost his job as a roofer, returned to Devon without anywhere to live, and stopped taking medication for bipolar disorder.

Mr White said: “It may have been more by luck than judgment, but there was no collision, no injury, and the car was not damaged.”

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