Drunk driver wrote off Bentley after police chase to avoid breath test

Police were led on a 9km chase at speeds of more than 120 km/h. Photo / Flickr / Alex Drennan
Police were led on a 9km chase at speeds of more than 120 km/h. Photo / Flickr / Alex Drennan

A drink-driving businessman who wrote off his £60,000 (NZ$109,000) Bentley when it "flew high up in the air" after a high-speed chase with police was jailed yesterday.

Kingsley Smith, 45, was nearly three times over the limit after a boozy night out when officers saw him crash his luxury car into a bollard, the Daily Mail reported.

They pulled him over to wait for a road-side alcohol kit but he revved his engine and jammed his vehicle between a parked vehicle and a wall.

Smith, who runs a kitchen fitting business, then put the Bentley Continental into reverse and narrowly avoided five police officers as he sped off.

The father-of-four - who had previous convictions before "turning his life around"- led officers on a five-and-a-half mile chase at speeds of more than 80mph on May 13.

As he zoomed through Gloucester and on to a dual carriageway, a number of officers were forced to abandon their pursuit.

Smith crashed to a halt when he "overcooked it" at a roundabout and was seen "flying high up in the air", over the roundabout, through a wall and into a park.

The single father was yesterday jailed for four months, banned from the roads for two years, and ordered to pay £2,750 in fines and costs.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC told him: 'There is much to admire about the last 15 years of your life. You had a rocky start and after that you have done remarkably well.

"You have been a successful businessman and kept out of any more criminal trouble.

"You have employed people and taken on the difficult task of being sole parent of two young children.

"But Friday the 13th really was a bad day for you. You accept quite rightly that your driving was utterly appalling.

"It was over 5.5 miles and as you are the first to admit you could have so easily killed someone, and you would have gone to prison for nine or ten years.

"Had you just been sensible when you were originally stopped, I could have overlooked an immediate sentence of imprisonment, which would have ensured you could have gone back to your work - but this was very dangerous driving.

"It was at a high speed, in town, culminating in you going over a roundabout, the Bentley taking off, and smashing into a wall."

The judge, sitting at Gloucester Crown Court, added: 'It's just a miracle that no one was hurt.'

The court heard that Smith had been in trouble with police as a young man but 'turned his life around' and hadn't been in serious bother since 1999.

But the New Zealand-born businessman - who grew up in Gloucester but had moved to Windsor - returned to his home town and went out with old friends.

He intended to have a single bottle of Peroni, but drank more before leaving a bar and getting into his car at 1.20am.

Five officers in a nearby car watched him smash into a bollard, and then head the wrong way down a one-way street, so intervened.

But while they waited for a road side breath specimen test to arrive, Smith took off.

Prosecuting, Julian Kesner, told the court: 'He started the engine, and this is when things go badly, badly wrong.

"In his determination to get away, he [Smith] misjudges it, drives off, and crashes nearby. The Bentley is wedged between a parked Corsa and a low wall."

The officers grabbed Smith, but he reversed - narrowly avoiding them - injuring the finger of a policeman who had his hand through the car window.

After losing sight of him, two further officers spot him, but are forced to give up the chase which at times exceeded 80mph in a 30mph zone.

Mr Kesner added: "As he approaches a roundabout, he, to use a colloquialism, overcooks it.

"The Bentley Continental takes off. It is described as flying high up in the air, goes straight over the roundabout, and out of control it continued into a stone wall.

"It continues through that stone wall and into a park area for about 20 to 30 metres."

Smith was arrested and a test at the police station revealed he had 94mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Defending, Jon Holmes, said Smith, from Windsor, Berkshire, was an "extraordinarily successful" businessman who employed 14 people.

He said his next contract involved fitting the kitchens in 360 apartments, and his outgoings on wages totalled around £75,000 a month.

Smith admitted dangerous driving, assault, and driving while under the influence.

He was sentenced to four months imprisonment - of which he will serve half - and was disqualified for two years and ordered to pass an extended test.

He was told to pay £250 compensation to the police officer he assaulted, a fine of £2,000 and costs of £500 as well as an unspecified victim surcharge.

- Daily Mail

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