A taxi driver caught behind the wheel with 16 times the legal level of a drug in his body has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Daryl Tyler was sentenced to 10 months in custody suspended for two years at a hearing today, and was also banned from driving for 18 months.
Tyler, 52, had led police on a mile-long chase with other motorists being forced to move out of the way before he came to a halt outside a taxi office.
The incident had begun when Tyler was stopped in St Andrews Street North, Bury St Edmunds on the evening of July 1 last year because his car had a faulty light.
Ipswich Crown Court heard that Tyler, of Queensway, Haverhill, became abusive and while officers awaited the arrival of a drug testing kit he had asked if he was under arrest.
Prosecutor William Carter said when Tyler was told he had not been arrested but was not free to go, he started the engine of his Honda Accord and sped from the scene.
Police using blue lights and a siren then followed Tyler at speeds of up to 50mph as he overtook vehicles and forced others out of the way in Station Hill and Fornham Road.
Mr Carter said Tyler’s driving had been ‘wholly inappropriate’ and only ended when he turned into Norfolk Road and came to a halt outside a taxi office where he said he planned to deliver documents.
Following his arrest, Tyler was tested and found to have 16 times the legal level of a cocaine by-product called Benzoylecgonine in his body.
When interviewed, Tyler said he did not consider he had driven dangerously because he had not been involved in a collision with any other vehicles.
Judge Overbury was told that Tyler had a number of previous motoring convictions from the 1990s, including one for reckless driving and three for driving whilst disqualified.
In addition to the suspended prison sentence and driving ban, Judge Overbury ordered Tyler to complete 100 hours of unpaid community work and participate in a 15 day rehabilition activity course.
Appearing for Tyler, Roger Thomson said his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had last appeared before a court 18 years ago. The police chase had lasted a matter of minutes.
Tyler had pleaded guilty to driving whilst the level of Benzoylecgonine in his body was above the legal limit and dangerous driving.