Drink driver in cop car chase is jailed

Jack Fitzgerald
Jack Fitzgerald

A drink driver wept in court as he watched an eight-minute film of a police chase round Heanor when he reached 85mph in narrow streets and jumped a red traffic light.

Jack Fitzgerald, 25, refused to watch it a second time with 
defence solicitor Quentin Robbins before being jailed for a year.

Recorder Tim Spencer QC told him: “I saw your reactions when you saw the video. This was terrible driving. I don’t know what kind of madness overcame you.”

He pointed out that the incident took place at around 11pm on November 5, a time when many pubs close.

“That is precisely the time when there could have been pedestrians on the streets and crossing the road,” he added at Derby Crown Court.

A three-year driving ban was also imposed on Fitzgerald of Market Street, Heanor.

He admitted driving with double the legal alcohol limit, dangerous driving in a car with no insurance or MoT certificate.

Nicki Forster, prosecuting, said the incident began when a police officer noticed a Renault Clio with a faulty brake light on Market Street heading towards Langley Mill.

The officer began to 
follow, putting on his blue lights, and pursued the Clio along Church Street and Ilkeston Road.

The highways were damp but visibility was good as the car reached 62mph on Milnhay Road, the court heard.

The Clio headed back into Heanor and was clocked at 49mph on Market Street 
before reaching 80mph on Loscoe Road. Fitzgerald went through a red traffic light on Church Street and his speed was recorded at 85mph on High Street.

When the car finally halted, Fitzgerald ran off but was quickly caught. He had a passenger who was not hurt, the court heard.

Miss Forster added: “He accepted in interview that he had been aware the police were following him. The reason he continued to drive was because he was aware he had no insurance, no MoT and was under the influence of alcohol.”

After the film had been shown in the courtroom, Mr Robbins had been given permission to watch the film again with Fitzgerald.

“He declined and said, ‘I don’t want to see it again. It’s the worst bit of driving I’ve ever seen.’ He can’t understand his actions that night. It is clear drink played a major part, said Mr Robbins.

“He has given much thought to what he did and the consequences of his actions and what could have happened to others. Thank heavens there was nobody else around,” said Mr Robbins.

The court was told that Fitzgerald was also given a one-year ban for drink-driving in 2009.