A Bendigo dad who led police on a wild drug-fuelled 27-minute car chase through suburban Bendigo because he felt “untouchable” when he was “on the juice” has been jailed.
Graeme Roberts, 22, hit and injured a police officer and overtook at least 15 other cars including around corners and while driving on the wrong side of the road, colliding with two vehicles, as he drove at up to 144 km/h in quiet residential streets in a failed attempt to escape police.
Police knew Roberts was likely to try to make a getaway when they moved to apprehend him for other matters, and had the Air Wing chopper at the ready when they followed him into a cul-de-sac on September 25, 2019.
They blocked off the entry to the cul-de-sac in unmarked police cars with the chopper hovering overhead and stepped out in uniform to attempt to approach him – but Roberts reversed and drove around them, mounting the kerb and the nature strip.
One officer was standing behind the open passenger’s side door of her vehicle and Roberts hit the door which slammed into her as he attempted to make a getaway.
He left her with injuries that continue to cause her pain, and later told police he didn’t realise the officer was there, which County Court judge George Georgiou did not accept as plausible.
A police officer on a motorcycle also narrowly avoided Roberts’ frantic driving as he exited the cul-de-sac.
That was the start of the 27-minute police chase through quiet residential Bendigo streets, ending when Roberts got out of the car and began running and jumping over fences and into a house, where he was arrested.
He had a ziplock bag of ice on him and the number plates on the car were believed to be stolen.
Roberts had never held a driver’s licence.
However, Judge Georgiou said he still managed to rack up a long history of driving offences, among other prior convictions, which led to him being disqualified from obtaining a licence.
Roberts has a son and told a court-appointed psychologist he was looking forward to spending more time with him when he gets out of prison.
Judge Georgiou said Roberts had ADHD and an IQ of 67, which means he has a mild intellectual disability, as well as a traumatic brain injury acquired in 2016.
He has been using ice since age 18 and GHB since age 21 among other substances, the court heard.
At the time of the police chase he was using a gram of ice and six or seven millilitres of GHB every day, Judge Georgiou said.
Roberts told the psychologist that, “On the juice, you think you are untouchable.”
He had pleaded guilty to five charges including dangerous driving and was jailed for three years and three months, with a non-parole period of 26 months.