A BUILDER who nearly ran over workmen as he sped at 100mph on the hard shoulder of the Thelwall Viaduct has been jailed.

Michael James led police on a 20-mile chase along the M6 on a busy Friday afternoon before being finally brought to a stop near Lymm.

On Tuesday, August 6, the 25-year-old was handed eight months behind bars at Liverpool Crown Court.

The court heard that officers in an unmarked BMW 3 Series spotted James driving in a black Volkswagen on the M58 near to Skelmersdale at around 3pm on June 21.

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After being instructed to pull over, the motorist instead accelerated away.

Over an ensuing 14-minute chase, he reached speeds of up to 110mph – driving aggressively, swerving between lanes and forcing other motorists to take evasive action.

James, from Lancaster, fishtailed on the roundabout connecting to the M58 to the M6 before continuing onto the latter motorway southbound.

The self-employed builder – who has been in the trade since the age of 17 and set up his own company 18 months ago – drove along the hard shoulder along the M6.

He was seen to throw a small white package, which was never recovered, out of the car window before continuing onto the Thelwall Viaduct.

Motorway maintenance vehicles and workmen were situated on the motorway bridge at the time, and James had to take evasive action in order to avoid a collision.

The defendant left the M6 at junction 20 for Lymm, but the road was congested with lorries and he was forced to stop.

James exited his vehicle and ran up the slip road, but police gave chase on foot and arrested him.

Warrington Guardian:

Michael James pictured outside Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday

Officers noticed that his eyes were dilated, and he refused to provide a sample at the roadside and in custody – claiming he did not want to give blood as he was afraid of needles.

The convicted drink driver, who was banned from the roads for the year for this offence in 2016, admitted dangerous driving and failing to give a specimen during an earlier court hearing.

Judge Robert Warnock banned James from driving for the second time, this time for three years and 10 months, and seized his car.

Sentencing, judge Warnock said: “This driving was simply appalling – it covered a distance of some 20 miles on two busy motorways.

“You were driving at speeds in excess of 100mph while you were being pursued, and you knew you were being pursued, by a police vehicle.

“It was quite remarkable that no one was injured.

“This was wholly and totally unacceptable.

“From time to time I see the consequences of that sort of driving, it was simply good fortune that nobody was injured or worse.

“It would appear you were under the influence of some substance or other.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that this offending must be marked with a custodial penalty.”