Drug driver who took police on 130mph chase through County Durham jailed

Durham Road Policing Unit

A man has been jailed for 18 months after leading police on a 130mph drug-fuelled pursuit, which came to an end after they crashed at high speed into a police car.

Richard Bowser, of Percy Street, Bishop Auckland, got into his Bentley Continental GT on Sunday, May 23, having consumed a vast quantity of cocaine.

Already wanted on suspicion of assault, Bowser reached speeds of up to 130mph and was seen to carry out multiple high-risk manoeuvres, darting past traffic and pedestrians at ‘terrifying’ speeds.

One of the pursuing officers later described witnessing a young girl watch in horror as the Bentley careered past her.

Showing no signs of stopping, Bowser was finally slowed down on his way out of Willington when he attempted to take a sharp bend at 90mph, but instead mounted the kerb and collided with a stationary police car that had been waiting ahead of the pursuit.

A police volunteer photographer, who was a passenger in the vehicle, captured the moment that all four of the Bentley’s wheels left the tarmac seconds before impact.

Credit: Durham Road Policing Unit

Despite both vehicles suffering massive damage, Bowser continued to drive 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.

Bowser ran from the vehicle and fled across a nearby field, but was tasered and in handcuffs within seconds, and promptly failed a roadside breath test and drug wipe.

The 44-year-old was later charged with dangerous driving, failing to stop and assault.

Appearing at Durham Crown Court last week, he 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.

Inspector Leach added: “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.