Exmouth drug driver tried to outrun police in rush-hour chase

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A rush hour driver who tried to outrun the police in a ‘barely roadworthy’ van while he was high on cannabis has been disqualified.

Michael Lockhart took off at speed, overtook on blind corners, and drove through a no entry sign before he screeched to a halt and ran off on foot.

He tested positive for cannabis when police chased him down and tests showed he had almost three times the permitted level of the drug in his body, even though it was only 8am.

Lockhart had borrowed the old Peugeot van from a friend in Exmouth to get to his job at a warehouse in Exeter but police tried to stop him because he had no licence or insurance.

He was stuck in traffic at the Countess Wear roundabout but veered off down Old Rydon Lane, where he abandoned the van after a short chase.

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Lockhart, aged 24, of Pound Lane, Exmouth, admitted dangerous driving, driving with more than the permitted amount of cannabis and having no licence or insurance.

He was jailed for six months, suspended for 18 months, banned from driving for two years, ordered to do a 31-session thinking skills course and 20 days supervision by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court.

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He told him: “You were in what appears to be a barely roadworthy van and when police tried to stop you, you made off and drove with complete disregard for the safety of other road users.”

Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said a police officer on the A379 Rydon Lane dual carriageway on the morning of July 11 ran a check on a Peugeot van which appeared to be in a poor condition.

He tried to stop it in the heavy traffic but Lockhart turned left into Old Rydon Lane and sped off.

He overtook on blind corners three times and went through a No Entry sign before stopping suddenly in a cloud of smoke from his wheels and running off up a set of steps.

The level of cannabis in his body was 5.6 THC, almost three times the limit of 2. There is a mandatory legal level even though the use of the drug is illegal.

Mr Warren Robinson, defending, said Lockhart had been using cannabis as self medication for ADHD since he was 12 but is now seeking proper medical help.

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