A DRUNKEN motorist who drove through residential streets at up to 80mph and head-on at a police car which had been following him – narrowly avoiding a collision with just inches to spare – was jailed on New Year’s Eve.
Just under three times the alcohol limit, Martin Barlow could offer no explanation as to why he had driven at 70-80mph in residential Lossiemouth streets on December 29 in a bid to dodge the police.
The police officers were fearful when Barlow’s car came hurtling towards them on Boyd Anderson Drive.
And just when it looked as if a collision was unavoidable with the stationary police Land Rover, Barlow swerved at the last minute.
The car engineer had been drinking earlier in the evening with a friend in a local pub, Elgin Sheriff Court heard on Hogmanay.
Barlow did not normally take the car when he went to the pub, said solicitor David Adams, and could not explain why he chose to drive.
Police officers had spotted Barlow’s car just after 11.30pm leaving the pub and they decided to follow him.
He failed to indicate at a number of junctions and accelerated harshly on a number of occasions.
His speed eventually reached between 70-80mph, flying across a roundabout at one point and taking off over speed bumps.
The officers were told to stand down such was the danger posed by continuing to pursue Barlow, fiscal depute Shona Duncan told the court.
Soon after, they came across his car in Boyd Anderson Drive and activated their blue flashing lights in a bid to bring him to a halt.
However, Barlow simply drove straight at the police vehicle, making no effort to stop or slow down, and only avoiding a collision at the last minute, added Miss Duncan.
Barlow was traced to his family home in Lossiemouth soon after, and he smelled of alcohol and his speech was slurred. The lower of two readings was 92 microgrammes of alcohol in his breath, with the legal limit being 35.
Barlow (30), of St Margaret’s Crescent, Lossiemouth admitted driving dangerously, at excessive speeds and driving head-on towards a police car.
He also admitted driving with excess alcohol at various roads in Lossiemouth, including Dunbar Street, McDonald Drive, St Margarets Crescent, Tullochs Brae, Stotfield Road, Muirton Road and Boyd Anderson Drive.
Mr Adams told the court that Barlow was no longer welcome at the family home following the incident.
He offered a bail address in Aberdeen where he works during the week as a car engineer - returning home to Lossie at weekends - however, Sheriff Susan Raeburn said bearing in mind the circumstances and the message courts needed to send out about this kind of behaviour, he would be remanded in custody pending the preparation of background reports.
Mr Adams said Barlow had served for some time in the military with distinction and for the last two years as a car engineer, being the main bread winner in his family.
"He is almost at a complete loss to explain what has happened here," he said.
Barlow will be sentenced on January 17.