High-speed chase driver pleads guilty

A MAN who fled police in a high speed chase reached speeds up to 180km/h, a court has heard. 

Heath Parker, 34, of Martin Street, Penshurst, pleaded guilty in the Koori division of Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday to charges including drink-driving, negligent driving while being pursued by police, driving disqualified and reckless conduct endangering serious injury. 

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Paul Harris said Parker was spotted by police in Hamilton taking a corner sharply on March 9 this year. 

Police had entered into a pursuit. “The vehicle was observed at speeds of up to 180km/h. That section of Ballarat Road is governed by a 60km/h zone.” 

Parker reached Tarrington where the car’s engine failed. 

“The driver exited the vehicle and lay on the gravel until he was arrested by police,” Senior Constable Harris said.

Parker was taken to Hamilton police station where his blood- alcohol reading was .1. During police interviews the accused  said: “I’ll do it again and again ... next time I’ll drive a four-wheel-drive right over a divvy van”.

Defence counsel Michael McKenna said Parker had struggled with undiagnosed depression and had never recovered from the tragic death of his younger sister. 

Elder Uncle Lenny Clarke told Parker he understood the hardship he had faced but urged him to think about his family, with his partner expecting a child in three months. 

“You’re halfway to 70 ... you’ve got to pick up the pieces. You’ve got to start moving along,” Mr Clarke said. 

“The charge you’re looking at is very serious.” 

Magistrate Peter Mellas said he feared the worst for Parker. 

“He keeps placing himself at risk and more importantly other people at risk. He’s going to end up killing himself,” Mr Mellas said. 

Mr Mellas adjourned the matter for September 11 to assess Parker for a long-term justice plan and corrections order. 

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