Police chase crash driver avoids jail

A FLEEING drink-driver, eventually run down by Warrnambool police officers after he crashed into two house fences and narrowly missed a woman, has just managed to avoid going to jail.

Benjamin Robert Knight, 31, of Hopetoun Road, Warrnambool, appeared in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week for a contest mention hearing.

After a sentence indication from Victorian chief magistrate Peter Lauritsen, the accused man pleaded guilty to a reduced number of charges knowing he would not go straight to prison.

Those charges included reckless conduct endangering life, unlicensed driving, failing to stop when requested by police and drink-driving (.135).

Mr Lauritsen said if Knight had contested the charges and they were proven, he could have expected to serve 12 months in prison.

Knight received a 12-month jail sentence which was suspended for two years. He was also disqualified from obtaining a driver’s licence for 26 months.

Police alleged that on November 16 last year Knight and his partner were drinking at the Whalers Hotel before leaving at 1.10am.

Police saw Knight’s vehicle out of control and swaying across Mortlake Road about 2am.

The driver accelerated down Daltons Road before colliding with fences in Laverock Road.

The owner of one property was standing in her driveway when her fence was knocked down. The driver ran off through backyards and was chased on foot by police but got away.

Police followed up the car’s registration and went to Mountain Ash Drive. When they arrived, Knight got out of a friend’s car and then tried to jump over a fence. Officers arrested him before he could get away again.

Knight was ordered to pay compensation for the damaged fences.

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