Alford

Drink driver spared jail despite ramming two police cars after being stopped by officers

A drink driver rammed two police cars when she fled after being stopped by officers, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Tara Lee was followed by officers after police were tipped off about her driving.

Philip Plant, prosecuting, said that Lee did not have her lights on and was followed into the centre of Skegness.

She went straight through a red light on Roman Bank and moments later a police car pulled in front of her forcing her to stop.

One of the officers approached Lee’s Vauxhall Astra and smashed her windscreen with an axe. Lee reacted by reversing into the police car and driving off.

Mr Plant said: “The defendant drove away through the residential streets of Skegness reaching speeds of 50mph in a 30mph zone.

“She was pursued. She then stopped her car and reversed into another police car. She then drove out of Skegness towards Hogsthorpe at 70mph in a 30mph zone.

“In due course she stops in Hogsthorpe and reverses her car again into the police car and drives away.”

Lee was eventually forced to halt after police used a stinger device. She abandoned her car and ran off but was detained after a short chase.

A breath test showed she had 57 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls of breath putting her over the legal limit of 35 mgs.

Lee, 32, of Conlie Close, Alford, admitted dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol as a result of the incident on February 22, 2015.

She was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years with a two month electronically monitored night-time curfew.

She was also banned from driving for three years.

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said that just two days before the incident Lee had been referred to adult psychology after being diagnosed with mental health problems.

He said: “The history is that she has been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of more than one partner.”

Mr Watson said that Lee had been diagnosed with a depressive disorder and the incident where the officer smashed her windscreen mirrored the circumstances of an earlier occasion when her then partner smashed her car windscreen and went on to assault her.

He said: “On the occasion of this offending her driving up to the point where her windscreen was smashed was not what could be described as dangerous.

“The dangerous driving takes place after the officer smashed the windscreen of her stationary vehicle. This was in the context of somebody on anxiety medication who has pre-existing diagnoses of mental health problems and but two days earlier had been referred to adult psychology.”

Judge Simon Hirst, passing sentence, told Lee: “This sort of driving, particularly in circumstances where people reverse into police cars, deserves immediate custody.

“Your barrister invites me not to send you immediately to custody but to suspend the sentence because of mitigation particular to you.

“Yours is an unhappy history of psychiatric concerns much of which is attributed to difficulties you have had in your personal life.

“Five years ago or thereabouts you were assaulted. The circumstances of the assault, Mr Watson submits, are of some significance. Your partner then smashed a windscreen of your car and you were set upon.

“Whilst the actions of the police officer smashing the window does not excuse what you did, it does seem to me to be significant in the context of this case. Given the background of this case it seems to me appropriate to suspend the inevitable sentence of custody.”