Switching off car lights not such a bright idea for Ford

A LEARNER driver who crashed his car into a street sign and a parked car after turning his lights off to hide from nearby police has been fined, but kept his licence.

Ford Tamati Matenga, 21, pleaded guilty at the Ipswich Magistrates Court to driving without due care and attention, failing to remain at the scene of a crash, driving while on his learner's permit without an L-plate and driving without an open licence holder in the car.

The court heard that at 2.30am on Sunday, October 6, police were at Pleasant Dr in Redbank Plains for an unrelated matter.

They were told by residents of the street a car had backed into a pole and a parked car before driving away.

Matenga told the court he was picking a friend up from the house and knew he wasn't adhering to the rules of his learner's permit by driving alone and without an L-plate. He said when he spotted the police in the street he turned his lights off to avoid the attention of police once he saw them.

When reversing without his lights he heard a thump, but continued to back up thinking he had hit the gutter.

He heard a second thump before realising he had hit a parked car and a street sign.

Using a description given to police by witnesses, police located the car with people still inside it.

The court heard Matenga had more than a page of traffic history, despite only ever holding a learner's permit.

He told the court he believed the car he struck had been illegally parked and that he'd turned his lights off as he didn't want to get into trouble.

The court fined him $800.

No action was taken against his licence.


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