Drug driver banned after crashing during chase through North Devon

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A drug driver has been banned after he crashed his car during a police chase in North Devon. 

James Brogan was so high on cannabis that he lit a cigarette in the wreckage of his vehicle as police tried to free him and giggled while he was being treated in hospital. 

He had been celebrating his 24th birthday the night before the crash last July and drove so erratically on the North Devon link road that other drivers alerted the police. 

He almost caused one accident by stopping dead and then weaved across the road randomly, causing oncoming cars to swerve away. 

Brogan did not notice the police for five minutes when they tried to stop him but then sped off towards Bampton when he saw their blue flashing lights. 


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He drove so dangerously on country roads that police abandoned the chase, only to find his wrecked car a few minutes later. 

Brogan, aged 24, of Fanshawe Way, Plymouth, admitted dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen and was jailed for eight months, suspended for 18 months by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court. 

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He was disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work and pay £1,200 costs. 

The judge told him: “It is quite clear that the reason you were not in control of your vehicle was that you were under the influence of cannabis, as you admitted to the writer of the pre-sentence report. 

“This was extremely dangerous driving which included overtaking on blind bends with no visibility. It was just good fortune on the part of fellow motorists and you that there was not a very serious accident. 

“Against that, I have heard that you are a thoroughly decent young man with a good work ethic. This is a major blemish on a previously unblemished character.” 

Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said police were alerted by worried drivers to Brogan’s erratic driving on the A361 in North Devon. 

They tried to stop him and a pursuit started on roads near Bampton which led to him crashing after officers had abandoned the chase because it was too dangerous. 

Brogan became aggressive to police at the scene and after being taken to hospital, where he was treated for cuts and bruises. He was recorded on bodycam giggling as he refused to be tested for blood. 

Mr Ryan Murray, defending, said Brogan started using recreational drugs after his successful business failed because a customer failed to pay a £200,000 debt. 

He had been treated for mental illness and his relationship with the mother of his child had broken down. 

He has rebuilt his life in the nine months since this incident and now has a new business which has already taken on an apprentice.

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