THREE police chases, some committed while the bonnet of his car covered his windscreen, landed a man three years and six months’ jail.
Robert James Roberts, 29, of no fixed address, also pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to stealing credit cards and racking up bills of $13,362.52.
He was charged with 64 offences and has spent 81 days in custody so will be eligible for parole in just over 15 months.
Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said Roberts’ driving was horrifying and it was a miracle that no one had been seriously injured or killed.
Two stolen credit cards were used between May 20 and June 3 to pay for tools, furniture, food and accommodation in Hamilton, Heywood and Warrnambool.
About noon on June 4 a Hamilton highway patrol police officer attempted to intercept the blue Toyota Roberts was driving.
Roberts accelerated away and a chase covered several streets in the Hamilton central business district, even going past a kindergarten.
He drove at 20 to 30km/h above speed limits, failed to stop and giveway, entered a roundabout on the wrong side causing other drivers to take evasive action before he travelled on the wrong side of a road when the chase was terminated by police.
Roberts soon after went past a Heywood police divisional van at 126km/h and made a gun gesture with his fingers.
Police chased him as he reached 120 to 140km/h, sometimes on the wrong side of the road.
During the chase the bonnet of Roberts’ car detached and covered his windscreen but the pursuit continued before it was again ended by police due to the extreme danger to other road users.
A third police pursuit started at 2pm involving a member of the Portland highway patrol unit.
Roberts crossed double lines while travelling at 100km/h in a 60 zone, causing several vehicles to take evasive action.
At Bolwarra another Portland police officer took up the pursuit after clocking Roberts at 126km/h with the bonnet still covering much of the windscreen.
Roberts was driving down Gorae Road towards the Portland-Nelson Road on the wrong side of the road near Mount Richmond.
At 2.42pm Roberts entered a rural driveway. He got out of his hatchback and police chased him.
Roberts managed to get hold of the keys of another vehicle but failed to start it and he then smashed the window of a house in trying to escape from police before being arrested.
Defence counsel Xavier Farrelly said his client’s driving was as bad as it got but he used his lights to warn other road users.
Mr Klestadt said Roberts had a lengthy criminal history in Victoria and South Australia and he had served time.
He said police tried to speak to Roberts about the thefts but: “Rather than pull over and accept the consequences of your dishonesty you engaged in conduct which put you, police officers and a number of other people at great risk,” he said.
“The driving described by police reads like a screenplay of a bad film. There was no doubt most people involved would have been terrified.”
Roberts was also ordered to pay compensation of $13,362.52 and his driver’s licence was cancelled for five years.