The driver reached speeds of 200km/h
The driver reached speeds of 200km/h Thinkstock

Court hears high speed chase drama

A COFFS Harbour man who led police on a series of high-speed pursuits through the Clarence Valley and used a stolen ute as a battering ram to evade capture, has faced Grafton Local Court.

Reece Gregory Clark, 25, appeared in court via audio-visual link and entered guilty pleas to a total of 14 charges, which included police pursuit, operating a vehicle to intimidate/harass, driving recklessly/furiously in a dangerous manner and resisting arrest.

According to police facts, on May 4 police spotted Clark in a black ute at Ulmarra which matched the description of a vehicle that had filled up at a South Grafton petrol station and left without paying. At 11.35am a Highway Patrol car pulled the ute over, but it sped off as police approached on foot.

For the next three hours, Clark led police on a number of pursuits as he attempted to escape, with police terminating the pursuits out of concern to the public's safety, as the ute hit speeds of more than 200km/h.

Clark fled north and reached Yamba Rd, before performing a u-turn at North Bank Rd and drove at a fully marked police sedan, causing the police driver to swerve to avoid being hit.

Police observed the ute heading south on the Pacific Highway at about 12.22pm, where police took up position near Franklins Rd at Glenugie to deploy road spikes, which only had a partial affect. Clark sped off at up to 240km/h, causing police to terminate the pursuit.

Believing the vehicle to be damaged, police began to patrol the area and Clark was soon located in the ring road system of Florda Red, Florda Prince and Florda Gold drives.

Police set up a roadblock at the Parker Rd intersection, blocking the only way in or out, and deployed road spikes. A Highway Patrol car attempted to intercept the ute, which performed numerous u-turns at dead ends to drive directly at the Highway Patrol car at speed.

Eventually the ute approached the roadblock and continued south to hit a police Pajero which was being used as part of the road block. The road spikes were effective and took out most of the ute's tyres as it pushed through the roadblock.

The ute turned left onto Park Rd and continued north on the Pacific Highway, reaching speeds of 200km/h as police once again terminated the pursuit.

As the ute approached Eight Mile Ln intersection Clark lost control, cut the corner and hit a Holden Commodore driven by an elderly local resident. The ute didn't stop and continued east, turned left on Tucabia-Wooli road towards Coldstream Bridge, where several police vehicles were circulating.

The ute came up against a police van and collided, with the ute crashing through a fence and down an embankment.

Clark got out and fled on foot across an open paddock and into a water catchment, where he was captured by police.

Investigations revealed the ute was stolen from Greensborough, Victoria, and a quantity of ice, cocaine and marijuana was found in the vehicle.

Clark will face court again on August 6 for sentencing.

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