WREAKED HAVOC: A man who terrorised motorists in a violent road rage spree has been sentenced to two years' jail.
WREAKED HAVOC: A man who terrorised motorists in a violent road rage spree has been sentenced to two years' jail. Brenda Strong GLA281013CORT

Dangerous, drugged-up motorist gets two years jail

A GLADSTONE man who terrorised motorists and endangered the lives of children and police officers in a violent road rage spree has been sentenced to two years' jail.

Over eight days Matthew John Coyle "wreaked havoc" on Gladstone region roads, driving at high speeds towards police and forcing them to move out of the way, ducking and weaving through traffic, driving onto islands and gutters, and driving dangerously where children were close by.

When police were finally able to capture the 29-year-old on July 31, 2018 using road stingers, the then-drug addict attempted to flee officers on foot before he was tasered to the ground.

Coyle was already in custody when he pleaded guilty via video at Gladstone Magistrates Court on Friday to more than 20 charges, including six counts of dangerous operation of a vehicle, drive without due care, enter premises and commit indictable offence, stealing, unlawful use of a vessel and obstruct police.

Magistrate Dennis Kinsella described Coyle's "one-man crime spree" as something "someone would see in a Hollywood film".

The court was told Coyle's most serious offending occurred in the last week of July, which included the theft of a vehicle, several fuel "drive-offs" and the dangerous driving.

Coyle was also involved in an arson offence in the same time period, which was dealt with in the District Court at Gladstone. Coyle received a three-and-a-half-year jail term, with parole eligibility in March 2020.

On several occasions Coyle "played a game of cat and mouse" with police, the court was told.

His dangerous driving including driving forward at and reversing towards police at high speeds in a bid to force them to move out of the way.

On another occasion when police were in pursuit of Coyle he was seen to reverse backwards from a stop sign.

The court was told there was a group of young children playing nearby. Coyle looked at police and "shrugged". The incident caused police to stop the chase.

On another occasion Coyle drove into the back of a stationary car, causing it to smash through a fence and into a house.

When police were able to safely set down stingers in Coyle's path, he continued to drive for a short time before he lost control of the vehicle in a built-up area and came to a stop on a gutter.

Coyle tried to flee the scene but was tasered by officers.

Defence lawyer Jun Pepito said Coyle "fell off the wagon" after a relationship breakdown and began to use ice heavily.

He said his client was a diesel fitter by trade and upon his release would like to continue in that career.

Mr Kinsella took into account the sentence Coyle was already serving and ordered a two-year jail term to run concurrently.

Mr Kinsella pushed Coyle's parole eligibility date back two months to May 13, 2020.

Coyle was also disqualified from driving for two years.



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