AN 18-year-old setting his sights on a career in the army has avoided prison after leading police on a high speed car chase in Warrington.

Sam Carmichael, of Cedar Grove, Latchford, appeared in Chester Crown Court on Thursday after reaching speeds of up to 70mph in a 30mph zone and 98mph in a 60mph zone.

The court heard how Carmichael was driving a friend's Ford pickup truck, which he took without permission, along Knutsford Road in the early hours of July 15.

At 1.50am a police officer noticed he was driving above the speed limit and tried to pull him over.

During the hearing, Judge Patrick Thompson was told that a police chase then occurred, with Carmichael running several red traffic lights before slowing down after about six minutes.

Upon stopping the vehicle, Carmichael said: "I am sorry about leading you on a chase like that, I didn't mean to."

During the incident, he had phoned the owner of the vehicle and asked what he should do about the police car behind him.

Speaking on behalf of his client, Mr Roberts said the teenager had no previous convictions and was remorseful.

Carmichael wishes to be in the army and was in the middle of his training when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Mr Roberts said Carmichael understands how lucky he was that he was not involved in an accident and simply 'panicked'.

Judge Patrick Thompson, passing sentence, said he was giving Carmichael one chance to prove himself.

"You put your own life at risk and also many other peoples'," he said.

"It's a miracle you didn't lose control of the vehicle, it's a miracle that nothing was coming the other way when you went through those red lights.

"The one thing that is saving you is your age and that you have no previous convictions.

"It seems to me that everyone deserves a chance, and this is yours, your only chance."

Carmichael was handed a 10 month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He must complete 150 hours of unpaid work, and is disqualified from driving for three years.