A DRINK-DRIVER who abandoned his car after smashing it into a Chester lamppost has been jailed.
Paul McDermott, 27, of Clwyd Street, Shotton, appeared at Chester and Ellesmere Port Magistrates Court on Monday, after changing his plea to guilty on the first day of his trial for one count of driving whilst over the limit, failing to stop after a road accident, driving without a licence or insurance and failing to give information regarding a driver’s identity.
Wendy Newton, prosecuting, described how at about 8.30pm on August 8, 2010, motorist Joanna Hilliard and her daughter Jessica Hilliard were waiting at a set of traffic lights on Nicholas Street, Chester, when they became aware of the sound of a car engine revving loudly behind them.
Mrs Newton said: “They saw a vehicle being driven at high speed and knew it wasn’t going to stop in time.
“Other witnesses estimated its speed at 70mph.”
The Vauxhall being driven by McDermott careered through the red lights and crashed into a lamppost several metres down the road.
Mrs Hilliard described how four occupants of the car jumped out and walked away from the wreckage.
She decided to follow McDermott in her vehicle as he walked up Grosvenor Street and began to cross Grosvenor Bridge.
The family continued to follow him as he turned round and headed toward Nuns Road before jumping over the wall into Chester Racecourse.
They passed on a description to the police who found McDermott talking to two other men on the racecourse.
A breath test taken at Blacon Police Station revealed he had 130 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, compared to the legal limit of 35 mg.
McDermott, who has 17 previous convictions from 57 offences, initially claimed to have been a backseat passenger and claimed he only exited through the driver’s door as the back door childlock was on.
Defending, Howard Jones, said McDermott had been drinking at a party to celebrate his daughter’s christening when a friend had asked him to pick someone up from the town centre.
Mr Jones said: “His driving was idiotic and to some extent he was showing off, driving in a low gear, revving and ultimately he lost control of the vehicle.”
He added: “He’s someone who seems to have grown up in a background of criminality which unfortunately seems to have rubbed off on him.”
Magistrates sentenced McDermott to 18 weeks for driving whilst over the legal limit and 18 weeks for failing to stop after an accident, to be served concurrently.
He received no separate penalty for driving without insurance or an appropriate licence but his licence was endorsed.
He was also disqualified from driving for three years and will remain banned until he completes an extended driving test.