Auto News

AutoGuide News Blog


The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Mar 24 2009, 10:06 AM

Lotus.jpg

Last July, Tex O’Reilly was clocked driving 173 mph in a 50 mph zone in his Lotus Elise – an offense that would normally have landed the father of three in jail.

O’Reilly beat the rap, however, by hiring a team of defense lawyers who argued that such a speed “was impossible.” The unmodified Elise, they said, has a top speed of 127 mph. This argument was upheld by Judge Andrew Hamilton, despite the prosecution arguing that the officer’s radar gun was accurate.

Defense lawyer Dominic Shelley, said that, “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,” he said.

The offense occurred on a stretch of A515 (a country lane in Derbyshire). The vehicle in question could not be tested because O’Reilly sold it to an individual  Germany shortly after the incident in question.

O’Reilly’s defense team did arrange a plea bargain with the prosecution, however, that saw him plead guilty to a lesser charge of dangerous driving at “just” 105 mph.

“May I make it absolutely clear that had you been driving at 150mph you would have been going immediately to prison,” said the the judge. “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.”

O’Reilly didn’t exactly get completely off the hook, however, as he still had to pay a £5,000 ($7,247) fine and received a license suspension for two years. He also had to pay £1,250 ($1,812) in court costs.

“So far as this offense is concerned, he offers no excuses or justifications,” said defense lawyer Shelley. “He recognizes that day as being a gross error of judgment. He understands and accepts fully how he could have caused considerable danger.”

[Source: The Telegraph]