Dangerous driver in 'elevated mood'

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 15:43 20/09/2012

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On his 55th birthday, a Pahiatua man sped out of his drive on a four-wheeled bike and hurtled down the road.

Leslie Reginald Stokes turned into Mangahao Rd, almost skidding on one side, before he drove toward some roadworks where three people were working and a trench had been dug.

The road was down to one lane but Stokes was undeterred.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Mike Toon told the Palmerston North District Court today that Stokes drove inside a cordoned-off area, almost on the footpath, and nearly hit a digger.

After the works, he passed a car on the inside just before reaching a narrow bridge.

Police had been alerted to his driving by members of the public and a patrol car gave chase.

Before stopping, Stokes performed a few 360 degree skids.

"He offers no excuse for the offending. He completely accepts he not only put himself in danger but also other road users," defence lawyer Carly Linton said.

There was a "complex back ground" to the case.

When he went driving Stokes was in an "elevated mood".

He had since sought medical help and had been diagnosed as bi-polar and was taking medication.

That these were Stokes' first offences showed his driving was out of character, Ms Linton said.

Judge Gregory Ross agreed but said it was an extended piece of bad driving more associated with boy racers.

On one charge each of dangerous driving and sustained loss of traction, Stokes was disqualified for nine months and fined $600.

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- Manawatu Standard

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