Chase ends with crash into police

A woman led police on a 12-kilometre pursuit then rammed a police vehicle, a court in Ballarat has heard. 

Stephanie Blackman, 20, appeared in the Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday, where she pleaded guilty to a number of charges relating to the police chase on May 9 this year.

The court heard that police noticed Blackman driving a Toyota sedan east on the Western Freeway with no plates attached at Rockbank. 

Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Pepe Brown said an unmarked police vehicle activated its lights and sirens in an attempt to pull Blackman over, but she refused and a pursuit began just after 2pm.

The court heard that Blackman increased her speed to 120 km/h and continued east towards Melbourne, when she turned off onto the Western Ring Road exit.

Other police soon joined the chase, which continued towards the Ballarat Road exit at Deer Park.

Leading Senior Constable Brown said the pursuit slowed to 40km/h because of heavy traffic, before Blackman tried to outmanoeuvre police by driving around traffic onto a grass verge.

He said that one police vehicle tried to cut her off, before the 20-year-old turned sharply and caused the vehicle to collide with a police car.

“Several police members and members of the public were put at risk as a result of her refusal to stop,” Leading Senior Constable Brown said.

Defence lawyer Hamish Locke said his client had been living in the car at the time of the offence, after “so-called friends” convinced her to spend the majority of her father’s $50,000 inheritance on drugs.

He said that Blackman suffered from an intellectual disability, an acquired brain injury and was a diagnosed schizophrenic.

“She may have been psychotic at the time of the offending,” Mr Locke said.

A psychological report was tended to the court, detailing her condition.Magistrate Peter Couzens adjourned the case to allow for further psychiatric reports to be compiled.