AN OVER the limit, uninsured driver led police on a 20-minute chase through Newtown town centre and all the way to Sarn – in a limousine.
The 27-year-old man appeared before Welshpool magistrates this week and was told to expect a jail sentence after the court heard how he mounted the pavement, ignored red lights and almost caused two head-on crashes.
Jonathan James Mitchell, of Orchid Walk, Maesyrhandir, pleaded guilty to six offences including drink-driving, dangerous driving and failing to stop for police.
He also admitted driving with no licence, insurance or MoT.
Prosecutor Helen Tench told the court that police began following the white limo just before midnight on Wednesday, August 23, as it entered Newtown from the direction of Caersws.
The limo was driving down the middle of the road and “only just avoided a collision with an articulated lorry,” said Mrs Tench.
It then turned right into Maesyrhandir, where three passengers got out, but ignored police requests to stop and took off again – after going through a red temporary traffic light.
The vehicle continued onto Plantation Lane – a 20 miles per hour zone – travelling “in excess of 50 miles per hour”.
When a police car attempted to pass the limo, Mitchell swerved the vehicle to the right to stop it overtaking him. The limo hit the police car and caused so much damage that it could not continue the pursuit.
Mrs Tench said Mitchell carried on driving towards the town centre, on the wrong side of the road.
He drove onto Broad Street and then High Street, where he again almost caused a head-on collision.
Mitchell went on to drive through another red light, skidding to the left “as if he had applied the handbrake”, and headed up New Road towards the McDonald’s traffic lights, mounting a kerb near the Queen’s Head pub on the way.
At the McDonald’s lights, the limo turned right and headed out of Newtown on the A489 towards Kerry.
Mrs Tench said: “He was constantly on the wrong side of the road, due to the length of the vehicle, so he could get round bends faster.”
Mitchell drove through Kerry and eventually stopped the limo at Sarn.
PC Rutter, who was alone and did not know how many people were still in the limo, drew his taser and approached the vehicle.
At that point, Mitchell got out and put his hands up, saying: “Rutter I’ll do whatever you want, please don’t taser me.”
As he was being arrested, he said: “How funny was that? Bet you never thought you’d chase a limo. I’m glad it was you who caught me Rutter, I’ll take this one.”
The chase had lasted 19 minutes. A breath test revealed Mitchell had 68 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit is 35.
Robert Hanratty, defending, said: “There weren’t any oncoming vehicles.
“This is not a high speed chase, there is no suggestion the defendant was driving outside the national speed limit when he was outside the built up areas.
“Jonathan accepts he is looking at a custodial sentence here.”
The magistrates said the case was so serious it had to be sent to the crown court for sentencing.
He was given a conditional discharge for the two offences which could not be sent to crown court and will be sentenced for the other four at Mold on October 26.
Mitchell was also given an interim driving ban until his sentencing and was re-bailed until that date.
See full story in the County Times