By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A disqualified P-plater has been slammed by a judge for his “clown’s behaviour” in fleeing a police pursuit at speeds of up to 164 km/h in Nar Nar Goon.
Jake Matthew Hampton-Collins, 24, pleaded guilty after a sentence indication at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 11 September.
Just a week before the pursuit, the boiler-maker’s licence had been cancelled for six months by the same court.
A white Colorado ute was seen by police at a speed camera operation on Princes Highway, speeding at about 120km/h past slow-moving traffic on 24 May.
The vehicle accelerated to an “extremely high speed” when pursued by police, with lights and sirens blaring, prosecutor Senior Constable Jaimie Jeffs said.
As the ute approached within 400 metres of a roundabout, its speed was detected at 164 km/h on the police’s mobile radar.
The ute turned at high speed, then boarded the Princes Freeway on-ramp.
On the freeway, the ute overtook vehicles and kicked up dust and debris from the emergency lane at estimated speeds of up to 140 km/h, Sen Const Jeffs said.
Police called off the pursuit due to the ute driver’s “reckless” behaviour.
The ute was registered to a female co-resident of Hampton-Collins.
She told police that Hampton-Collins usually drove the ute, but believed a workmate picked up and drove him in the ute at 4am that day.
After several attempts to contact Hampton-Collins, police were sent a letter from his lawyers to arrange an interview three weeks later.
Magistrate David Starvaggi said unless an alternative driver gave evidence in court, he would find Hampton-Collins guilty.
“I accept it’s not (the female partner). It’s Hampton-Collins or possibly a workmate.”
Hampton-Collins was a father, who worked 15 hour days at his own business, the court heard.
“His sole purpose is working for him and his young family,” his lawyer said.
Mr Starvaggi said Hampton-Collins, as a young offender, was entitled to a rehabilitation-focused sentence but faced jail for repeat wrong-doing.
“You’re old enough not to be acting like a moron.
“This is the conduct that frequently sees people in the County Court for culpable driving and dangerous driving causing death.
“It’s clown’s behaviour.”
But for his guilty plea, the accused would have been jailed, Mr Starvaggi said.
Hampton-Collins was fined $2000 without conviction. He was disqualified from driving for 18 months.