The driver of a stolen vehicle, which crashed into a truck outside a Ballarat secondary school during a police chase, had drugs in his system and did not have a valid licence.
Wade Turner, 22, was bailed at the Ballarat Magistrates Court via video link on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to charges relating to the December police chase.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Steve Repac said Turner was driving the stolen white Subaru vehicle on December 12 with two passengers, Georgia Cleary and Jason Crawford.
He said the police helicopter followed the Subaru around Ballarat's streets. Police tried to deploy stop sticks on Forest Street but Turner reversed up the street, conducted a u-turn and crashed into a truck outside Ballarat Grammar School.
The trio fled the scene, running into the grounds of the school. Turner was seen running through the school and he was located hiding in a bush two blocks from the crash.
Senior Constable Repac said Turner had methamphetamine in his system and he was a disqualified p-plate driver. He refused to be interviewed by police. He said police searched the white Subaru and found numerous tools.
The court was told Turner had been following the road rules while the police helicopter followed him but he panicked when he saw the police on Forest Street, causing him to crash.
"It was no intention of Mr Turner to cause a scene. It was a moment of panic when he turned into the intersection," Turner's defence lawyer said.
Turner was released from custody weeks before the incident and fell back in with other offenders after not having anyone else to turn to.
His mother died in tragic circumstances when he was nine-years-old and his father was absent. Turner's lawyer said her client had spent his entire adult life in custody and had missed out on learning life skills.
"His prior history is significant. He is 22, he still has potential. This is about providing him with support to reach his potential," she said.
The court was told Turner had accepted responsibility for the police chase, he was finding custody difficult with the COVID-19 situation and he was experiencing low moods.
The defence lawyer urged the court to defer sentence so Turner could receive drug addiction treatment in the community.
Magistrate Noreen Toohey told Turner this type of offending put the community at risk.
"Police had to bring out the air wing for the public's safety and locate these offenders. This is serious offending particularly in light of his priors," Ms Toohey said.
Turner was assessed suitable for the Court Integrated Court Services Program, which the magistrate said she had confidence in because drug programs through a community correction order took too long to access.
"This is a chance to get assistance in the community. You are someone who is smart, who has worked before and has the capacity to work again," Ms Toohey said.
"It's up to you. At 22, you have time to make some big changes to your life and becoming a model citizen. If you let me down, you will not be on CISP bail."
Turner's sentence was deferred to a date to be fixed and he was bailed with the condition he comply with CISP. He will return to court on June 4 for the magistrate to check on his progress.
Turner pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle, going equipped to steal, driving in a dangerous manner, drug-driving and disqualified driving.
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