30km pursuit ends in pepper-spraying

Last updated 05:00 07/12/2013

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A New Plymouth driver led police on a crazy 30km-long pursuit, running red lights and reaching speeds of more than 130kmh.

On August 30 about 11pm, Bill Hone Cope, 24, raced through the city and into the country trying to outrun police.

He was arrested at the end of Upper Weld Rd, a dead end off State Highway 45. Surrounded by patrol cars, Cope resisted arrest and fought with a police officer and ended up pepper-sprayed.

Cope was first clocked at 102kmh in the 50kmh zone driving west on Northgate. He had a passenger in his car.

Early in the chase, when Cope headed down a no-exit street in Fitzroy he turned his car and aimed it straight at a police car, swerving at the last minute.

With police on his tail, he speeded the wrong way around a roundabout and at speeds of 127kmh, passed a car on the wrong side. He also went through red traffic lights. His top speed was 137km.

Cope admitted counts of reckless driving, failing to stop, resisting police and refusing to give blood. Judge Allan Roberts said Cope had behaved like a lunatic and was going to jail. He criticised the low penalties available for such offending and rejected the recommended sentence of community detention coupled with supervision and community work.

Cope was sentenced to the maximum three months' jail and disqualified from driving for 13 months.

The jail sentence would be followed by six months special conditions and drug counselling.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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