Tuesday, August 10, 2010

aussie news: Elusive driver jailed after 400km chase

A DRUNK and disqualified driver pursued by police for over 400km from Townsville to Mackay at high speeds has lost his licence for almost five years and been jailed for 18 months.

The father of two had an alcohol reading three times the legal limit of .170 per cent.

But it's believed to have been much higher as the pursuit was ended five hours after he got behind the wheel following a drinking session.

Sean Joseph Preston, 22, pleaded guilty yesterday in the Townsville Magistrates Court to nine charges including dangerous driving, drink driving, driving while disqualified, four fail to stop for police and two theft of fuel.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Deb Bisley said the multiple police chase started at Rasmussen on September 7 when Preston avoided a random breath test about 2am.

"A white Holden Commodore was seen pulling into an IGA car park and drive out the other entrance," she said.

Townsville police pursued but the chase was called off when the vehicle failed to stop.

Preston was then seen at an Alligator Creek Caltex service station driving off without paying for $49 worth of fuel.

The Ayr police were next to attempt intercepting the defendant as he travelled south on the Bruce Highway at dangerously high speeds.

"They attempted to intercept and he accelerated heavily away - at 170km in a 100km zone," Sgt Bisley said.

Ayr police spotted Preston on Queen St soon after where he failed to give-way to a patrol car at a roundabout speeding away in a 70km/h zone at more than 142km/h on the wrong side of the road.

Bowen police were next, their attempt to intercept the car parked at a construction site was foiled when reversed away into a U-turn and drove off at 138km/h in an 80km/h zone.

The defendant then drove off without paying for $52 worth of fuel at Airlie Beach Mobil service station.

Mackay police, who heard the pursuits over the radio, ended the escapade five hours later at 7am.

"He was parked in by traffic at a red light and was arrested," Sgt Bisley said.

Magistrate Smid refused to accept the defendant's dangerous high-speed highway dash was all because of an alcohol problem.

Defence lawyer Marie Kerfoot argued her client was turning his troubled times around.

"He wants a family life and wants to be alcohol-free,"' she said.

Mr Smid was also skeptical about that argument remarking"too many people like you (Preston) claim to be getting their life together just before a magistrate sentences them."

The magistrate sentenced Preston, who has spent six months in custody already and was on probation for a break and enter offence, to 18 months' prison with a parole release date later this month.

The defendant was disqualified from driving for four years for unlicensed driving, three months for drink driving, six months for dangerous operation and two months for each failing to stop offence. He was fined $400 for the fuel thefts.


firstly, i seriously think that the state police needs to have a better way in catching these reckless drunk drivers other chasing them across the state but ends up losing them, its such a waste. Second, for me the punishment sentenced to this guy is a bit lenient. Come on, this guy could cause an accident which fatal innocent lives. Maybe a heftier punishment should be imposed for illegal traffickers who had seen driving dangerously.

on contrary, i do feel the complexity of the judge to sentence those who were found guilty. Like this example, the defendant said that he tried to get his life back together before the magistrate. This could actually give the magistrate a headache to accept that the defendant has really admit his mistake or just to fool the magistrate so they get lighter punishment. however, i am sympathized by this guy as he is still young and have a family to support. i hope the jail sentence, although it is considered short term but will give a valuable lesson. I also hoped that his family can get through which maybe their darkest hour of their life.

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