Driveway 'road rage' man convicted

A WARRNAMBOOL man who drove his car three times at a neighbour has been convicted and fined $1500.

Michael Crawford, 24, of Baker Grove, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week to dangerous driving.

The court heard that on May 15 last year Crawford pulled out of his driveway and noticed his neighbour in his own front yard.

After a heated conversation, the two men agreed to sort out their differences and Crawford “got in the neighbour’s face”.

The neighbour turned his back and Crawford returned to his car and drove it towards him.

The third time he did so Crawford nearly hit the neighbour and crashed the car into his house, causing $360 damage. Crawford was a probationary driver at the time of the offence.

Defence counsel Matt Senia said Crawford was originally from Dandenong. His parents separated when he was two years old and he had a difficult upbringing.

At 16 his mother was jailed and he was left to care for his siblings, at which point he developed a chronic cannabis addiction and began using harder drugs.

He moved to Warrnambool in 2011 and at the time of the incident had stopped taking anti-depressants and attending his drug and alcohol counselling.

Mr Senia said Crawford didn’t know what came over him.

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said it was clear that until Crawford successfully stopped using cannabis he was likely to be in circumstances where he committed offences.

He said Crawford was angry and enraged by his neighbour and used his vehicle to intimidate him.

He said he couldn’t conclude that he was trying to run him down or hit him.

Crawford was convicted and fined $1500 and disqualified from driving for nine months.

At the time of the incident he was on a suspended sentence for drug offences but Mr Klestadt said there were exceptional circumstances for why the sentence shouldn’t be imposed.

He said it was a different type of offending, it was the only offence that had occurred in that period of time and he had made some positive steps towards leading a normal life in the community.

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