BALLARAT Highway Patrol police have adopted a new zero tolerance for dangerous hoons on the region’s roads after one weekend pursuit allegedly reached speeds of 200km/h.
New pursuit legislation, improved communications, equipment and tactics are part of the arsenal police will use to catch offenders and keep roads safe after multiple high-speed pursuits in recent weeks in the region.
Acting Senior Sergeant Stuart Gale said high-speed chases were becoming too common in our region.
He hoped that, as new laws came into full effect through the courts, the legislation would prove an effective deterrent.
New laws, introduced last November, carry a maximum penalty of three years’ jail for engaging in a police pursuit.
“It’s hard to judge already, because most cases still haven’t gone to court this year, but the legislation is a great step forward and gives police something better to charge them with,” Acting Senior Sergeant Gale said. “Hopefully the new legislation will prove effective once decent penalties are handed out in court.”
Acting Senior Sergeant Gale said a 30-year-old man was arrested on Saturday and charged under the new laws for a pursuit from Stawell that ended in Waubra.
Toufic Tlais, from Glenroy, allegedly reached speeds of 200km/h near Stawell at 9.30am on Saturday but police had to abandon their pursuit when it was deemed unsafe for the public and police to continue.
A public tip-off allowed police to relocate the alleged offender two hours later on the Sunraysia Highway, north of Waubra, where the pursuit successfully ended.
Tlais was allegedly clocked at 196km/h in a 70km zone.
Tlais was arrested at the scene and remanded in custody to face the Ballarat Magistrates Court today.
He was charged with negligent driving while pursued by police, manner dangerous, speed dangerous, theft of a motor vehicle, theft of petrol, exceeding the speed limit and other traffic and drug offences.
The Sunrasyia Highway pursuit came on the same day as a high-speed pursuit through Sebastopol and another chase in the Western District.
Last month an unlicensed driver who led police on a high-speed chase through Gordon was the first person to be jailed under the government’s new evading police legislation.
He was sentenced to eight months’ jail.
Also last month, police caught a 21-year-old Buninyong man after an hour-long pursuit from Sebastopol to Bannockburn.
Jacob Aspland was sentenced to a 24-month term of imprisonment last week for the pursuit and other previous offences.