Three cops almost hit in dad’s suburban Subie mayhem
A Brisbane father has been locked up after a wild car chase through the streets of Kallangur saw him take out several fences and almost hit three police officers.
Justin Peter Hotchkiss, 39, pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing, and one count each of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, failure to comply with duties of a driver involved in a crash and unlawful use of a motor vehicle at the Pine Rivers Magistrates Court today.
The court heard Hotchkiss had been out of prison for less than a day when a Subaru Liberty was reported stolen from a home in Bray Park on March 13.
Police prosecutor sergeant Graham Turner told the court police spotted Hotchkiss driving the car in Kallangur on March 17, but he sped off before police could pursue the matter further.
At 2am the next morning a police patrol in Kallangur saw the car once again, this time parked in the driveway of a home.
Officers approached on foot, but as they did the car started, the lights switched on, and it accelerated straight towards them.
Three of the four officers had to jump out of the way to avoid being run over.
Despite the danger, they managed to shine their torches into the driver's window and identify Hotchkiss as operating the vehicle.
In a panic, Hotchkiss "bottomed out" the car over the driveway, causing sparks to fly underneath it.
He went on to plough through a neighbouring fence, driving off with it caught beneath the body of the car, dragging along the road and slowing him down to where police were able to detain him.
He has been in custody ever since.
Duty lawyer Bevan Manthey told the court Hotchkiss, who at the time suffered from an addiction to drugs, was initially given authority to use the vehicle but "went far beyond" that authority.
The two stealing offences occurred during a spate of earlier offending that saw Hotchkiss imprisoned for a separate charge of unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
The court heard CCTV footage showed Hotchkiss stealing fuel using false plates at a Woolworths petrol station in Deception Bay on December 28, and at a Woolworths petrol station in Kallangur on January 1.
Magistrate Trevor Morgan said given Hotchkiss's 18 pages of criminal history for similar offences, it would be "laughable" to give the man anything less than a prison sentence.
"You have at least three previous offences for dangerous driving, six or seven for failing to stop a motor vehicle when directed, and six or seven for unlawful use," Mr Morgan said to Hotchkiss.
"You were released on parole just a couple of days before this incident and none of the previous sentencing seems to have been anywhere near adequate to protect the community from your behaviour."
Hotchkiss was convicted and sentenced for 18 months imprisonment for the dangerous driving charge and the unlawful use of a motor vehicle charge, which are to be served concurrently.
He will be eligible for parole immediately, with Mr Morgan noting it may be some months before the parole eligibility board is able to address his case.
For the other charges Hotchkiss was convicted and not further punished.
Originally published as Three cops almost hit in dad's suburban Subie mayhem