Woman in high-speed police chase refused bail
A WOMAN has broken down in Grafton Local Court after pleading guilty to a high-speed highway pursuit that ended in a crash at a busy South Grafton roundabout.
Patricia Michele Stacey, 35, of Banora Point, appeared via video link yesterday, pleading guilty to charges including police pursuit, reckless driving and drive while suspended, after leading police on the dangerous chase along the Pacific Highway and into the streets of Grafton last week.
The court heard Stacey was on bail for other alleged offences, to which she has pleaded not guilty, at the time of the incident.
Police alleged that in a bid to help her boyfriend and passenger Hoby Stephen John Fields, 27, evade police on outstanding warrants, Stacey dodged a roadside breath test in Maclean by doing a U-turn, raising the suspicion of Coffs/Clarence officers and prompting them to attempt to stop the vehicle.
The car sped off onto the Pacific Highway, driving so fast and erratically police stopped following.
As the car travelled south along the Pacific Highway, Highway and Traffic Patrol officers set up road spikes at Swan Creek where both tyres on the driver's side were blown.
Stacey continued along the highway at speed on two rims, before turning onto the Gwydir Highway at South Grafton.
The car then clipped the trailer of another car at the Skinner St roundabout, where it came to a halt and both accused fled on foot before they were apprehended.
In court yesterday, Stacey's representative made an application for her release from custody.
He said the aged care nurse's life had "spiralled" out of control after a miscarriage last year when she had turned to drugs and alcohol, but she was ready to "turn her life back around".
He said Stacey's first time in custody had woken her up to the devastating consequences of her actions.
He submitted Stacey be released on bail to the care of her parents and that she would seek rehabilitation treatment, report to police regularly and remain in NSW.
The police prosecutor disagreed any conditions could lessen Stacey's risk to the community, as she appeared "clearly willing to evade police in any way necessary".
Stacey held her head in her hands, crying and glancing to her parents in the corner of the courtroom as Magistrate Kathy Crittenden refused bail.
Ms Crittenden said it was likely Stacey would be sentenced to a prison term for the police pursuit and due to her "significant" history of failure to appear in court and that Stacey was already on bail at the time, no conditions could mitigate the prosecution's concerns.
"It shows disregard for the lives and safety of other members of the public."
Stacey will next appear in Grafton Local Court on March 23 for sentence.