Fugitive jailed after car chase between Bideford and Barnstaple

Lewis Brown

Lewis Brown - Credit: DC Police

A fugitive who fled police by jumping over walls and fences was caught nine hours later after a car chase along farm tracks.

Lewis Brown shook off two officers when they tried to handcuff him outside his former partner's house in Bideford after a domestic incident.

He was found driving a Volkwagen car on the edge of Barnstaple and tried to give police the slip by driving down country lanes at up to 50 mph.

He came close to hitting two pedestrians after his front tyres were punctured by a stinger device and carried on across a farm track when they shredded and fell off.

Brown was desperate to avoid capture because he was over the drink drive limit, banned from driving, and in breach of a suspended sentence for earlier driving offences.

He has a long history of motoring offences going back to his teens and a total of 81 previous convictions. 

Brown, aged 31, of Barnstaple, admitted escape from custody, assaulting an emergency worker, drink driving, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and with no insurance.

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He was jailed for a total of 12 months and banned from driving for three years by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “You were driving while having drunk alcohol and being disqualified. Once police found you, your driving was really dangerous. You drove on roads with no passing places at 40 to 50 mph. 

“If another car came your way, I cannot see how you could have avoided a serious collision.” 

Mr Herc Ashworth, prosecuting, said police were called to a property in Northam, at 2.27am on March 14 this year. 

They told him to leave and were in the process of handcuffing him when he began struggling. He broke free, causing the handcuff to rebound and hit the wrist of the officer. 

He then ran off into Diddywell Road and Springfield Crescent, where he jumped over fences to escape from a police dog, leaving behind his coat when it was grabbed by an officer.

Police began inquiries and a search which led to them trying to stop a VW car which he had borrowed from a friend at around 11.30 am.

A chase of about six minutes ensued which started as he left Barnstaple on Old Bideford Road and carried on after his front tyres were burst by a stinger device.

He started to lose control and mounted a pavement close to two pedestrians before he turned onto a single-track farm lane and carried on at 20 mph with his tyres falling apart.

Brown slowed to 10 mph with the car riding on wheel rims before he stopped and fled into woodland, where he was pursued on foot and caught by police.

He gave a breath test of 50 mcg, the limit being 35 mcg.

Mr Daniel Pawson-Pounds, defending, said Brown had not planned his escape and acted impulsively when he ran away and later when he tried to avoid being stopped in the car.

He said he had no intention of hurting the officer when he broke free.

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