Police pursuits turn to prison time

Police pursuits turn to prison time

A MAN has been sentenced to 25 months in prison after he was involved in two high-speed police pursuits through suburban streets.

Daniel Alan Hedge (31) appeared in Joondalup Magistrates Court via video link from Hakea Prison on September 13 where the police prosecutor outlined the facts of the case.

The court heard the first pursuit was on June 14.

About 1pm in Wangara, police activated their lights and sirens behind Hedge’s Toyota Hilux.

According to his lawyer Ashley Watson, this was in response to burglaries in the area and police were “stopping every Hilux”.

However, Watson said because Hedge was not on his dexamphetamine medication, having run out of his prescription, he was “flighting” and his “consequential thinking” had changed.

Instead of stopping, the prosecutor said Hedge “heavily veered on to the left verge to overtake slower vehicles” causing them to break heavily.

Hedge then drove at high speeds through several suburban streets, exceeding 140km/h at one time, and clocking 100km/h on the wrong side of the road against the flow of traffic.

He also mounted a media strip, clipped a roundabout and deliberately crashed through log bollards.

The vehicle eventually became bogged on a dirt track and Hedge was arrested and found with 0.2g of methylamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

As well as the two drug offences, he was charged with reckless driving to escape pursuit by police, failing to stop and driving contrary to an extraordinary licence.

“Self-medicating gets him in trouble it seems,” Mr Watson said.

He also said Hedge has been out of work for three weeks so he was not being “proactive”.

“I just relapsed in those three weeks,” Hedge added.

The second pursuit was on July 2.

About 11pm, police saw a Yamaha motorcycle “behaving in a suspicious manner” in Banksia Grove including driving through a red light and on footpaths.

When police activated their lights and siren Hedge refused to stop, igniting a short but high-speed pursuit where he overtook two vehicles over solid white lines and had to brake to avoid a collision.

He was captured in Wanneroo where is was then discovered the motorcycle had been stolen on June 25.

He was again charged with reckless driving to escape pursuit by police, failing to stop and driving contrary to an extraordinary licence, as well as stealing a motor vehicle.

However, Mr Watson said Hedge was not aware the motorcycle was stolen because he had borrowed it from a friend.

Hedge was taken into custody on July 2 where he will now remain until he is eligible for parole halfway through his sentence.

Mr Watson said while Hedge had other reckless driving offences on his record, they were not pursuits.

However, the prosecutor said more than the minimum penalties needed to apply.

He said while he accepted Mr Watson’s submission that the motorcycle pursuit on July 2 was at night and Hedge would have been more of a danger to himself than anyone else, if he had hit a pedestrian it would have been worse.

However, he said the Wangara pursuit on June 14 was in the afternoon, in a “very busy area”, “going through Hocking and other suburban roads that are heavy in traffic” and reaching 140km/h.

“It was gravely, gravely reckless; someone could have died there,” he said.

Magistrate Sandra De Maio said he was “clearly looking at jail for a significant time” and adjourned the case until September 27 for sentencing.

When handing down her decision on Friday, Ms De Maio said both pursuits “put the public in danger”, particularly the Wangara one where he “did not stop of his own accord”, instead becoming bogged.

“For a few weeks you were unemployed, bored and at a loose end, you had run out of dexamphetamine and you relapsed into meth,” Ms De Maio said.

“At 31 you are expected to manage your illness.

“You made the conscious decision to use meth to self-medicate.

“That can be an explanation for why you reacted the way you did but it is not an excuse.”

She said Hedge showed “complete disregard for authority” and a “cavalier attitude to the safety of the public by the way you drive”.

Though Ms De Maio said she would need to impose cumulative prison terms for the two reckless driving charges as a “general deterrence”, she also acknowledge Hedge’s early guilty plea, submitted character references and that he had been renewing his work tickets for a job offer.

Hedge was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the Wangara pursuit and an additional seven months for the motorcycle pursuit, totalling 25 months, as well as three months for stealing a motor vehicle to run alongside.

For both drug charges and both charges of driving contrary to an extraordinary licence, he was given a global fine of $1000 and his extraordinary licence was cancelled.

For both failing to stop charges, he was given a global fine of $5000 and his licence was disqualified for two years.

His licence will also be suspended for 30 months after he is released from prison.

More from Joondalup Court:

Driving without a licence leads to jail

Burglary victim charged after gun stolen