'Infatuated' Police find man in bush after driving car on 3 wheels
A GLADSTONE man who managed to drive a car on three wheels after the fourth tyre burst and flew off has narrowly avoided spending time behind bars.
Shaqeal Joseph Bligh, 20, pleaded guilty to a string of 10 charges; the most serious being one count of enter dwelling and commit indictable offence, unlawful use of a car and dangerous operation of a vehicle while being adversely affected by alcohol.
The offending occurred between July 2016 - May 2017, the most recent on May 17 when Bligh got drunk, stole a car and went for a dangerous joyride around town.
At about 10.45pm Bligh got into a car parked on the driveway of the occupants home.
The owner of the car heard the wheels screech down the road.
Bligh's reckless driving cause one tyre to blow, sending it flying, leaving him to drive on three wheels and a rim.
He drove past police doing patrols in the area and upon seeing the damage followed Bligh with lights and sirens indicating him to pull over.
But Bligh continued to drive, ensuing a police chase along the Dawson Hwy.
He was followed into Bowls St, where he abandoned the car and tried to outrun the police on foot. He was found hiding in a bush nearby.
Upon being arrested, he returned a blood alcohol content reading of .162%.
The earlier offending in May 2016, saw him enter a New Auckland residence, while drunk, and steal a number of items including a bank card, a laptop and a set of keys.
However he left a very obvious piece of evidence at the scene, an empty alcohol bottle, which police were able to draw his DNA from.
Defence lawyer Lauren Townsend said prior to the offending her client had been doing well for himself.
However, when the relationship with his "very much older" 30-year-old girlfriend ended badly, things took a turn.
"He was infatuated with her," Ms Townsend said.
"He had recently been released from imprisonment and fell off the wagon."
"But we all saw him at the bail application, crying and angry at himself for what he had done ... He has come a very long way since then and has greatly progressed."
Ms Townsend said her client had been involved in cultural mentoring programs, community support groups and counselling.
Gladstone magistrate Melanie Ho imposed a jail term of 12 months wholly suspended for 18 months, a hefty $6207 fine, and a licence disqualification of three years.