Watch drunk-driver speed wrong way down one-way Northampton street in the dark before crashing into a tree at 80mph

Frightening footage of 4am police pursuit through town sidestreets

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 11:44 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 12:33 pm

Police have released frightening footage of a high-speed chase through Northampton which ended with a drunk-driver smashing into a tree at 80mph.

John Henry Lee French had been driving on the wrong side of the road near Pitsford even before his Nissan Qashqai was spotted by an Armed Response Vehicle heading into the town at around 4am on October 29.

The 22-minute pursuit started in The Mounts where Henry turned into a one-way sidestreet and speeds off the wrong way, then squeezes his vehicle between iron bollards in an attempt to escape.

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French ends his bid to escape by wrecking the stolen Qashqai

Video shot from the Qashqai's own dashcam and from one of the two pursuing police vehicles then shows French heading out of town on the A428, driving through two red lights at high speed and into another residential area before finding his way out onto country roads.

He later blew 58 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

French, 37, was given given a 14-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months when he appeared at Northampton Crown Court in June on charges of drink-driving, dangerous driving and failing to stop at traffic signals.

He was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to carry out 80 hours unpaid work.

French, whose address was not given on court documents, had already been sentenced at Northampton Magistrates Court in January for taking the vehicle and driving with no insurance.

He was ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for a year.