Driver clocked at 173mph avoids jail

A motorist caught driving at 173mph in a 50mph zone has avoided jail after it was found that his Lotus Elise sports car could not travel that fast.

Tex O'Reilly, 36, was clocked driving at the excessive speed by officers using a "reliable device" as he drove along a country lane in Derbyshire last July.

However, defence lawyers at Derby Crown Court argued that Mr O'Reilly's unmodified car was unable to reach speeds above 127mph.

They said: "They (Lotus Elises) are not built for that speed and the likelihood of one being able to keep control of such a vehicle at that speed is beyond comprehension."

The prosecution failed to disprove the defence claims and the builder, from Canal Bridge in Willington, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving for travelling at 105mph.

Judge Andrew Hamilton said: "May I make it absolutely clear that had you been driving at 150mph you would have been going immediately to prison.

"However, you were not driving at 150mph, you were driving at 105mph, and for whatever reason the prosecution have accepted that basis of plea, and that puts the case in a different light."

Mr O'Reilly was fined £5,000 and banned from driving for two years. He was also ordered to pay £1,250 in costs.

Copyright © Press Association 2009