Gordon police chase driver jailed in statewide first

AN unlicensed driver who led police on a high-speed chase through Gordon is the first person to be jailed under the government’s tough new evading police laws.

Bradley John Palmer, 33, was yesterday jailed for eight months after he sped away from police at more than double the speed limit.

The Port Melbourne man is the first person to be jailed for dangerous driving while engaging in a police pursuit.

Up to seven others have been charged in Victoria since the law came into effect in November last year, but they are yet to be sentenced.

The maximum penalty for the offence is three years’ jail.

Palmer appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court on Monday, where he pleaded guilty to six charges including failing to stop on police request, driving at a speed dangerous and stating a false name.

According to the prosecution summary obtained by The Courier, Palmer was speeding along Main Street in Gordon on Sunday afternoon when police started following him.

The officers intercepted Palmer but when they asked him to get out of the car he sped off.

Police pursued the unlicensed driver, who reached speeds of up to 140km/h on Old Melbourne Road, which is a 60km/h zone, before he dumped his car and escaped on foot.

Palmer ran into bushland on the north side of the road, sparking an extensive police search of the area.

He was eventually located at a property in Gordon.

When interviewed by police, Palmer admitted purchasing the Toyota Land Cruiser station wagon for $1100 from a man in St Kilda, despite acknowledging the vehicle was worth more than $20,000.

He didn’t get any paperwork with the purchase.

According to the summary, Palmer hasn’t held a driver’s licence in more than eight years.

Ballarat Highway Patrol Sergeant Ross Humphrey said the new laws and subsequent penalties sent out a harsh reminder to those who evaded police when behind the wheel.

“Any person who even considers engaging police in a pursuit should think again,” he said.

“It not only puts them and their passengers in danger, but also police and every other member of the public.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said the new laws built on the initial hoon laws, which came into effect in 2011.