Driver jailed over high-speed car chase

Jon Solmundson, GERALDTON GUARDIANGeraldton Guardian
Driver jailed over high-speed car chase
Camera IconDriver jailed over high-speed car chase Credit: Geraldton Guardian

A man involved in a high-speed police chase through Geraldton has been jailed for 19 months and banned from driving for six years.

In Geraldton Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 28-year-old Michael Andrew Fogarty faced six charges including failing to comply with directions to stop, reckless driving to escape pursuit by police, driving dangerously causing bodily harm, no authority to drive and breach of bail.

The chase took place on August 15 last year when Fogarty — in a Holden Commodore with one passenger not wearing a seatbelt — took off along Sixth Street when police turned on their lights to pull him over.

Police estimate Fogarty was going 100km/h in the 50km/h suburban zone, hitting 130km/h by the time he reached Flores Road, and he reached about 200km/h when driving along Geraldton-Mount Magnet Road.

Magistrate Donna Webb said it was important to note that Sixth Street was a residential area and there would have been children and cyclists outside at 7.30pm on a Saturday when the incident occurred.

“It’s not at the top end of offending for reckless driving but it’s up there,” she said.

“The risk to the public was extreme. You’re extremely lucky no one was killed.”

The chase ended when Fogarty crashed into a bush, and he ran from the vehicle as it burst into flames, leaving the passenger inside.

The passenger had to be flown to hospital to treat his fractured vertebrae, but Fogarty’s defence counsel said the two were still friends.

Ms Webb said Fogarty had shown complete disregard for the orders of the court, having already appeared in court just two days before the offences occurred, and complete disregard for the safety of other motorists.

However Ms Webb said in sentencing the charge for driving dangerously causing bodily harm that the passenger was not wearing a seat belt and there was no indication he made efforts to stop Fogarty’s reckless behaviour.

Fogarty’s defence counsel said he was under the influence of drugs when the chase occurred, and he only recognised his situation when he came to after crashing into the bush.

Fogarty also pleaded guilty to one outstanding charge for possession of amphetamines, which had been laid on September 15, in Bluff Point.

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