Durham Police have released some shocking dashcam and body-worn footage (scroll down for video) of the moment when a Bentley driver took police on a high-speed pursuit in A 550 horsepower sportscar.
Richard Bowser, of Percy Street, Bishop Auckland, got behind the wheel of his Bentley Continental GT on Sunday, May 23, having consumed a vast quantity of cocaine.
Bowser was wanted on suspicion of assault and was spotted by officers heading towards Tow Law on the A68.
He immediately crossed into the opposite side of the road to overtake traffic before making off from police.
One of the pursuing officers later described witnessing a young girl watch in horror as the speeding Bentley careered past her.
Bowser reached speeds of up to 130mph during the pursuit and was seen to carry out multiple high-risk manoeuvres, darting past traffic and pedestrians at what police have called ‘terrifying’ speeds.
It was not long before officers successfully deployed on stinger and the Bentley’s front tyres started to deflate, but not before out-of-control Bowser struck a police vehicle.
A police volunteer photographer, who was a passenger in the police vehicle, captured the moment that all four of the Bentley’s wheels left the tarmac at 90 mph seconds before impact.
Despite both vehicles suffering massive damage, officers were shocked to see Bowser’s Bentley limp on for another half a mile, still at speeds of up to 90mph and now littering the road with debris, before finally coming to a halt at Low Willington Industrial Estate.
After ditching the vehicle, Bowser tried to flee on foot but was no match for the pursuing officers who took him into custody after being tased.
Appearing at Durham Crown Court last week, the 44-year-old was convicted of dangerous driving, drink driving and drug driving, and was handed an 18-month prison sentence, disqualified from driving for 45 months, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £156.
Inspector Ian Leach, of the Roads Policing Unit, said:
“Bowser’s actions were appalling, and his recklessness could so easily have had catastrophic consequences.
“He demonstrated a total disregard for the safety of others as soon as he got behind the wheel of his car under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.
“The outcome of this incident could have been fatal, and it is by sheer luck that those he crashed into escaped with only minor injuries.
“It takes far more than a high-performance vehicle to make a good driver, but Bowser’s prison sentence and lengthy disqualification will nevertheless help to protect the public from harm.”
Bowser, whose Bentley was written off in the pursuit, will have to pass an extended driving test before being allowed to drive again.
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