A SOUTH Australian man will spend the rest of 2021 behind bars after pleading guilty to a series of dangerous driving offences on the Western Highway in September.
Christian Ross, who appeared in the Horsham Magistrate's Court via videolink on Monday, October 18, pleaded guilty to reckless conduct endangering life and three other charges related to unlawful driving and possession of foreign property.
Ross was the subject of a high-speed police chase, which stretched along the Western Highway from north of Horsham, through the city, to the outskirts of Ararat, where he was recorded driving at speeds of up to 236km/h.
Horsham police located the vehicle and recorded Ross travelling at 143km/h in a 100 km/h zone.
The police also detected Ross travelling at 120 km/h in an 80 km/h zone at around 2.24pm.
Ross was travelling eastbound on the Western Highway, as Highway Patrol performed a U-turn to try and intercept the vehicle before Ross sped away in the Horsham direction at speeds estimated to be around 180km/h.
The Highway Patrol vehicle continued in their pursuit of Ross before he was detected travelling at 236 km/h along the Western Highway in wet and sometimes hailing conditions on the day.
A short time later, Ross was observed by an off-duty police officer approaching the intersection of Firebrace Street and Baillie streets, Horsham, where Ross failed to stop at a red traffic light.
The court heard Ross continued to drive recklessly through Horsham, with the Highway Patrol deploying stop sticks on the Western Highway eastbound of Horsham.
Ross avoided this first set of stop sticks and continued towards Dadswell Bridge at more than 200 km/h.
The high-speed driving came to an end on the outskirts of Ararat when at around 3.15pm, after Ross lost control of his vehicle and slid on the wet road, crashing his car up an embankment.
Police were on the scene and took Ross into custody for questioning.
Ross told police he was a passenger in the car, and the driver had fled the scene; investigations revealed Ross was the driver of the vehicle and its sole occupant.
Upon sentencing, the 35-year-old's defence lawyer Nick Graham said Ross "takes full responsibility" for his actions and noted he had entered a guilty plea at the earliest possible time.
Mr Graham said Ross recognised his driving was "as bad as it can possibly be" as he attempted to leave his life in Elizabeth, South Australia, behind.
Magistrate Tim Walsh made his point clear in his sentencing.
"This kind of driving is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and to travel at speeds of up to 236 km/h in wet, very wet and hailing conditions beggars belief," he said.
"You endangered all other road users and tried to lie your way out of it.
"I am taking into account you pleading guilty early and I am taking into account the conditions of your custody."
Ross was sentenced to three months in jail, disqualified from driving in Victoria for five years, and fined $600.
Ross has already served 36 days in custody.