Drink-driver gets fifth ban after leading police on dangerous chase

JAILED Gareth Rodgers
JAILED Gareth Rodgers
Scot Mackenzie

Family’s urgent plea to find missing loved one

Have your say

A DRINK-DRIVER who has been caught four times before has been jailed for leading police on a dangerous chase.

The ‘repeatedly reckless attitude’ of Gareth Rodgers is revealed as Hampshire police cracks down on drink and drug-impaired drivers during the festive period in its Is It Worth The Risk? campaign.

Rodgers, 34, who has four previous drink-driving convictions and two for driving while disqualified, continued to drive the Vauxhall Astra even after a tyre came off his car in a bid to escape police.

When he was arrested, he was more than twice the legal alcohol limit.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard police followed Rodgers after spotting the car he was driving had no lights on, despite it being about 10.30pm.

He failed to stop when police signalled for him to and sped off through Havant.

Rodgers drove at up to 50mph in a 30mph zone, overtaking cars, driving through a red traffic light and at times on the wrong side of the road.

At one point, an oncoming police vehicle attempted to block his route but Rodgers drove off, scraping the car.

As he sped towards Portsdown Hill a tyre came off the front of the vehicle but Rodgers still kept driving.

He eventually stopped at the junction of College Road and was blocked in by the police car.

A test revealed his breath contained 102 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres.

The legal limit is 35mg.

Rodgers, of Harestock Road, Bedhampton, has convictions for 85 previous offences.

He pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, drink-driving and driving while disqualified at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Sentencing him to four months in jail, Recorder Llewellyn Sellick said: ‘It is quite clear to me that this was a case of dangerous driving made worse by the fact that you were, in round figures, three times the limit.’

Recorder Sellick added: ‘That makes the fifth time you have been convicted of driving with excess alcohol.

‘There is a failure to provide a specimen at one stage as well and certainly at least the third you have driven whilst disqualified, certainly with no insurance, on many occasions as well.’

Rodgers, pictured left, was banned from driving for three years.

Investigating officer PC John Girling of Hampshire Constabulary’s Havant District CID said: ‘Gareth Rodgers’s repeatedly reckless attitude put lives at risk on our roads.

‘We will take every opportunity to remove criminals from the community when they have a blatant and dangerous disregard for safety while at the wheel of a car.’

Now the police want people to think twice before getting behind the wheel after having a drink and have launched a Christmas campaign to get tough on drink and drug-impaired drivers.

Hampshire chief constable Andy Marsh said: ‘I want people to back the campaign, to stop preventable accidents and deaths from happening.

‘Drink drivers need to think about the consequences it has for them, and others, and think “is it worth it?”

‘If you are planning on drinking, then make sure you have plans to get home.

‘Make sure you leave the car keys at home, that there is a designated driver, or you get a taxi.

‘Getting caught carries a significant punishment. And also, you can harm others with your actions, so I would urge people not to get behind the wheel after drinking.’