Mercury (Hobart)

Jail after highway chase

Police pursued driver in heavy traffic, court heard


A MAN who drove through a roadworks zone against oncoming traffic, forced other highway drivers to brake abruptly to avoid a crash, and eventually had his tyres spiked has been jailed.

Jade Anthony Charles, 31, appeared before Justice Michael Brett in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Hobart on Thursday.

Charles had pleaded guilty

one count of dangerous driving, one count of evading police with aggravatin­g circumstan­ces, one breach of bail and one count of driving while disqualifi­ed.

The court heard Charles drove through Devonport and was pursued by police for several kilometres in heavy traffic on March 9 this year.

Justice Brett said Charles turned through a red arrow traffic light and had seen a police officer in an unmarked vehicle.

Charles merged on to the Bass Highway forcing other cars to brake to avoid a collision. He was driving 100km/h in an 80km/h zone.

He changed lanes on a bridge twice without indicating, and travelled through roadworks on the incorrect side of the road while five constructi­on workers were working nearby.

“This was extremely dangerous because on one occasion vehicles coming the other way were forced to stop,” Justice Brett said.

Police attempted to deflate the car with spikes, which Charles dodged the first time, before successful­ly being spiked a second time before he re-entered the Bass Highway.

Charles attempted to run away, but was caught by police.

Justice Brett described the behaviour as a “lengthy and sustained course of dangerous driving” and noted Charles had relevant prior conviction­s related to traffic charges with “significan­t similariti­es”.

“Driving such as this can easily result in lethal and catastroph­ic circumstan­ces,” Justice Brett said.

He activated Charles’ suspended jail sentence of 18 months, and ordered a further three-month prison sentence relating to the man’s evade police charge.

Justice Brett said Charles’ total prison term was 21 months and 18 weeks, backdated to March this year. He said Charles would be eligible for parole after 14 months and 18 weeks had been served.

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