Ex-NASCAR racer pleads guilty in high speed chase

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) A former NASCAR driver who led police on a 150 mph chase through three states pleaded guilty Tuesday under a deal that spares him any prison time.

Timothy Tyler Andrew Walker, 35, entered the plea in a St. George court to felony counts of failure to stop for an officer and possession of a controlled substance, the Spectrum report (http://bit.ly/1sUzdkY).

The Hermosa Beach, California, man also pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors: impaired driving, possession of drug paraphernalia and having an open container of alcohol in the car.

Walker said in court he's in a much better place than when Utah Highway Patrol troopers arrested him in January 2013 after a chase that began in Nevada and crossed into Arizona before reaching Utah.

The pursuit followed a winding road that goes through the Virgin River Gorge. Nobody was hurt.

Police reported finding methamphetamine, marijuana and vodka in the car.

Walker appeared in court in a black suit with a short haircut - a stark contrast to his mug shot from the day of his arrest, when he had dreadlocks and wore an untucked shirt.

''I just want to thank everybody who helped me out,'' Walker said. He apologized to everyone who was on the road during the chase and said he's doing everything he can to be healthy ''so this never happens again.''

Walker competed in 28 NASCAR races before the stock car racing association suspended him in 2007 for violating its drug policy.

He is expected to get probation when he is sentenced Feb. 23, said his attorney, Trevor Terry.

''Prison is for folks that show the judge that they don't deserve a break, that they can't be safe out of jail,'' Terry told The Associated Press. ''Tyler is obviously not in that category.''

Walker had issues with alcohol and meth use but is getting treatment and working in the family company, Terry said.

Doctors also have discovered that Walker has some brain damage from his many crashes during his racing days that might have contributed to some of his problems, the lawyer said. He's also receiving treatment and therapy to help with that.

''He's not saying that meth use is an acceptable way to cope with that, but that's what happened,'' Terry said.

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Information from: The Spectrum, http://www.thespectrum.com

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