Druggie dad stole a rental, rammed police to get away
A LONG-TIME criminal with a lengthy rap-sheet wasted no time racking up more offences after his release from prison.
Ryan Andrew Whitfield stole a rental car, rammed a police car, almost ran over an officer, drove on the footpath and on the wrong side of the road to evade arrest.
He was using methamphetamines (ice) and marijuana around the time of the offences, a court was told.
Whitfield, 27, faced Mackay Magistrates Court on Friday via videolink from jail.
The Mackay dad pleaded guilty to 13 charges, including unlawful use of a vehicle, dangerous operation of a vehicle, four counts of failing to stop, six counts of driving without a license disqualified by court order and contravening probation.
The crimes occurred in January and February in the Mackay region, following Whitfield's release from jail on parole on January 3 - where he was serving time for traffic offences.
He was locked up again by February 14 and had served 129 days as of Friday.
Prosecutor Chris Bennett said Whitfield's criminal history included convictions for assault, domestic violence, drugs, possessing knives and possessing explosives.
His "very poor traffic history" included failing to stop for police, disqualified driving and unlicensed driving.
Whitfield's criminal behaviour has been escalating, according to Mr Bennett, as demonstrated on January 17 about 11.45am.
About five police vehicles were parked along McLaughlin Drive in Eimeo when they spotted Whitfield driving a Ford Ranger with stolen plates.
"The police activated lights and sirens and immediately attempted to intercept this vehicle. A Mackay CIB (Criminal Investigation Branch) vehicle ... pulled out behind the defendant's vehicle and blocked it from the rear," he said.
Mr Bennett said police officers approached the ute, but Whitfield reversed at speed, nearly hitting one of them.
Officers in the CIB vehicle were also forced to "avoid being rammed" and Whitfield reversed at speed down the middle of the road.
"As the vehicle reversed backwards two marked police vehicles followed the defendant into Barber Drive, where the defendant has reversed into a gutter and over the sidewalk at some speed," Mr Bennett said
Accelerating forward, Whitfield again mounted the footpath and collided with a police car.
Mr Bennett said Whitfield then continued down Barber Drive "on the footpath", before entering Blacks Beach Road, driving "into oncoming traffic at excessive speed".
Vehicles had to pull into the wrong lane to avoid a crash and police were forced to let Whitfield go.
Defence solicitor Rosie Varley conceded it was "good luck rather than good management" that police officers weren't injured.
Mr Bennett also detailed several other incidents in which Whitfield evaded police in a stolen Toyota Camry, which was a rental car he loaned from a friend and didn't return.
Ms Varley described Whitfield as an unemployed dad of two who's originally from Darwin and suffers anxiety and depression, which "deteriorated" after his release from prison.
There has been indications from medical experts that Whitfield suffered undiagnosed schizophrenia, Ms Varley said.
Whitfield had "moved around quite a lot" and shifted to Mackay in 2012, according to Ms Varley, where he had worked in a furniture shop before his life "spun out of control" again.
Ms Varley said Whitfield, who had been getting help for mental health and substance abuse issues, made timely pleas and was remorseful of his actions.
She submitted, backing the prosecution, that Whitfield should be sentenced to 18 months jail, released on parole after six months - which he'll have served come August 14.
Magistrate John Aberdeen said he was concerned about how Whitfield would behave on release.
He adjourned the sentencing until August 14 for consideration.