A man has been ‘nabbed’ after allegedly testing positive for drugs, before fleeing in a stolen vehicle, in the state’s north yesterday.
Operation Nabbed North, a high-visibility traffic operation targeting impaired drivers, ran between 7pm and 3.30am on both Friday (13 March) and Saturday (14 March 2020) nights.
Officers from Traffic and Highway Patrol and General Duties attached to the Northern Region, including Tweed/Byron and Richmond Police Districts, with assistance from Sydney Metropolitan police, conducted random and stationary breath and drug tests on the M1 Motorway between Tweed Heads and Ballina. Queensland Police also supported the operation in border areas.
Police conducted more than 9600 breath tests during the two-day operation with a total of 60 drivers being charged for the offence of driving under the influence of alcohol.
In addition to the drink-driving charges,19 people returned positive results for drug-driving.
About 11pm on Saturday, a Holden Commodore was stopped for a random breath and drug test on Kirkwood Road, Tweed Heads South. It was subsequently established that the vehicle had been reported stolen from a residential property in Queensland on Friday 13 March 2020.
The driver was subjected to a breath test, which returned negative, and a drug test, before police noticed the man’s licence was suspended. The driver allegedly accelerated from the scene and a pursuit was initiated.
Road spikes were deployed at the on-ramp to the Pacific Motorway at Brunswick Heads, with the vehicle coming to a stop a short time later.
Police will allege the driver attempted to flee the scene on foot but was arrested and taken to Byron Bay Hospital for mandatory testing.
Upon release, the 23-year-old Queensland man was taken to Tweed Heads Police Station and charged with police pursuit – not stop – drive dangerously, class A motor vehicle exceed speed over 45km/h, drive while licence suspended, receive property stolen outside NSW, use unregistered motor vehicle, use uninsured motor vehicle, drive vehicle under influence of drugs, and drive conveyance without consent of owner.
The man was refused bail to appear before Tweed Heads Local Court tomorrow (Monday 16 March 2020).
About 1.15am today, police will allege a vehicle stopped short of a random breath test site and allegedly completed a U-turn on the M1 Motorway at Tweed Heads. A pursuit was commenced, and road spikes were successfully deployed.
The driver, a 44-year-old man, was arrested and taken for mandatory testing, before being taken to Tweed Heads Police Station and charged with police pursuit, driver manner dangerous, exceed speed over 45 km/h, drive vehicle under influence of drug. The vehicle was impounded for three months
He was granted conditional bail to appear before Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday 6 April 2020.
The passenger in the vehicle, a 38-year-old man, was also arrested and charged with outstanding domestic-violence offences.
About 2.45am today, police on the M1 Motorway near Sleepy Hollow attempted to stop a Holden Commodore for a random breath test. The vehicle was identified as reported stolen from Queensland, and a pursuit was initiated after it allegedly failed to stop.
Police successfully deployed road spikes and the vehicle eventually stopped.
The 17-year-old male driver was arrested along with 3 passengers – two aged 16 and one aged 13.
The driver underwent mandatory testing before being taken to Byron Bay Police Station and charged with police pursuit – drive manner dangerous, negligent driving, learner unaccompanied driver, not display L plates and possess property stolen outside of state.
He was refused bail to appear before a Children’s Court today (Sunday 15 March 2020).
The three passengers were dealt with under the Young Offenders Act.
Regional Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Superintendent Paul Glinn, said it is disappointing to see drivers continuing to put themselves, and other road users, at risk by driving impaired.
“The message is simple – if you are affected by drugs or alcohol, you should not be in control of a vehicle,” Supt Glinn said.
“Drivers should remember that police can be anywhere at any time and you will get caught if you break the law. This applies not only to Traffic and Highway Patrol officers, but all members of NSW Police who see road safety as a serious issue.”
“Operations like this will continue in future across NSW, we want to see drivers make better choices and a positive change in the behaviour of road users, particularly in Northern NSW. This operation has demonstrated that such changes are required by the totality of the offences detected over the past two days”.
Northern Region Highway Patrol Traffic Tactician, Inspector Peter McMenamin, said this operation has seen police not only interact with impaired drivers, but also those involved in other serious crimes.
“Just like all police, officers involved in this operation continue to protect the community, by preventing and disrupting crime.”
Key statistics for Operation Nabbed North (13-14 March 2020):
Breath tests conducted – 9639
PCA charges – 60
Positive drug tests – 19
Traffic infringements – 364