Callum McClay pleaded guilty to evading police after he led them on a short but high speed chase in Maryborough.
Callum McClay pleaded guilty to evading police after he led them on a short but high speed chase in Maryborough.

Gympie man leads police on high speed chase through M’boro

INCREDIBLY stupid, dreadful and dangerous were just some of the words used to describe a Gympie man who led police on a high speed chase through Maryborough.

Just before midnight on April 25, police patrolling in Tinana were forced into a late night chase as a car they tried to pull over on a highway off ramp sped away from them.

The driver, Callum Robert McClay, 21, "took off' when police approached his stopped car, and after they activated lights and sirens and indicated for him to pull over, he sped up.

For 300m the police chased McClay as he reached speeds of 146km/h in a 60 zone, a Gympie court heard this week.

Realising he had no intention of stopping, they followed protocol by deactivating lights and sirens, and pulled into a service station and reported the offence.

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Checks on the car's registration later revealed it belonged to McClay's mother, and she was served an evade police notice, but told police it was her son who had been driving and he was charged after voluntarily attending the police station.

The court heard McClay had not realised how fast he was going but said he knew it was "too fast."

Facing the Gympie Magistrates Court last week, McClay pleaded guilty to evading police by failing to stop a motor car when directed, driving without a licence, and disobeying the speed limit by more than 40km/h in a 60km/h zone.

McClay's lawyer told the court his client had panicked, and made a "really, really stupid" to drive away from police as he did not have a licence.

He said McClay regrets his actions, and had even approached a psychologist as it was so "out of character" for him.

Magistrate Chris Callaghan told McClay his behaviour was "incredibly stupid" and that it made no sense to "take off from police" simply for not having a licence.

"You're young; you've just turned 21 … you've made a dreadful mistake," he said.

"Especially driving at that speed, that's dreadful driving and verging on dangerous, but the police have decided not to charge you with dangerous driving."

Mr Callaghan explained to McClay the seriousness of the evading police charge, and referred to an inquest which highlighted the risks of high speed pursuits, which have led to the deaths of offenders, police, and innocent bystanders in the past.

Mr Callaghan fined McClay $6672.50, the minimum penalty for the offence, and he was disqualified from having a licence for two years.

Gympie Times

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