A DRINK driver left his friends for dead and assaulted a police officer as he fled the scene of a car crash.
Louis Brown, of Langford Road, Wickham Bishops, was drinking heavily in the Prince of Wales pub in Great Totham before getting behind the wheel.
After racing through the streets at 80mph in a 50mph zone, the 20-year-old lifeguard spun off Colchester Road, Maldon, and ploughed into a garage.
One passenger lost 11 teeth, another had to spend a month off work, and a third said everyone in the car "looked as though they were dead" as Brown fled the scene.
PC Lisa Workman caught up with him and he hit her on the arm to break away.
But at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge Laura Harris spared Brown a stint behind bars.
"When I first read the papers in this case I was in no doubt you deserved to go to prison," she told him. "It's a bad case of dangerous driving and you were heavily intoxicated.
"You caused serious injuries to passengers who were friends of yours and ran off swearing at and assaulting a police officer.
"However, I've heard your employment is ironically about protecting the public and I take into account you were 19 when this occurred 15 months ago. You're now the father of a child born prematurely and I am prepared to suspend the sentence.
"I have to accept this was an aberration – take this as a lucky chance."
Brown was given a ten-month suspended sentence and a three-year driving ban and ordered to do 200 hours' unpaid work.
His front seat passenger Billy Bullock lost 11 teeth in the crash, while Robert Hockton suffered cuts to his head and leg.
A third passenger, Charles Cole, described the speed as "excessive".
Brown later admitted to driving at speeds of 90mph.
He hit the kerb while going round a bend and crashed into Rachel and Craig West's garage, causing £5,000 worth of damage.