Drink driver caught after making v-sign to Durham chief constable

As errors of judgement go, it was instantly regrettable. A drunk driver was today banned from the roads for five years and given a 12-week suspended jail sentence after sticking two fingers up at a fellow motorist, only to find that it was the chief constable of Durham.

Tracy Kelsey undertook and weaved around chief constable Jon Stoddart’s unmarked police car on the A1 earlier this month. The officer then chased and pulled over the 44-year-old Darlington man, who was almost four times the drink-drive limit.

Stoddart said: “I became aware of this car behind me without any lights on at dusk. He undertook me on the left-hand side of the motorway and I flashed my lights to warn him his weren’t on. He responded by giving me a two fingered gesture then pulled in front of me and braked suddenly.

“His driving was so erratic I put my ‘blues and twos’ on and instructed him to pull off the motorway onto a slip road at Bowburn [County Durham]. I ordered him into my car, where he promptly sat on my sunglasses, breaking them. They were a Christmas present from my wife, who was not very happy.”

Chief constable Stoddart said that Kelsey “reeked of booze” and admitted to him that he had a drink problem. Stoddart then radioed for back-up. Kelsey was breathalised and found to be almost four times over the legal limit of 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The incident took place during the evening rush hour on 8 February. The court heard that this was the sixth time Kelsey had been charged with alcohol-related driving offences, the first coming in 1978 when he was aged 14. Kelsey, from Darlington, regularly drank 10 pints of lager per day and was jailed for six months for drink driving in 1994, the court was told.

Chairman of the bench Alan Milligan told Kelsey: “You are very lucky you did not kill somebody. You could have been facing a charge of manslaughter. You are either oblivious or do not care about the consequences of drink-driving.” Besides his driving ban, Kelsey’s jail term was suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to attend a drink-driving awareness course.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss