Dangerous driver’s life unravelling due to a drug addiction

THE family of a drug addict who started using strong painkillers after an injury hope he will get his life back on track.

Benjamin Paul Stiler, 21, will start serving a jail term of more than 10 months in NSW following his arrest in Wodonga.

Police had been trying to catch Stiler for a range of dangerous driving matters, including an incident on January 20 where he sped on the Hume Highway at 150km/h after fleeing officers.

They had spotted his car at the shops on Mayfair Drive about 5.10pm and moved nearby.

He drove away from the police members and performed a burnout for about 35 metres before driving away at double the speed limit.

Police pulled over and inspected security footage from a business.

He was spotted speeding on the Hume, heading north, a short time later.

It followed a petrol drive off and an incident where he was arrested in a stolen car.

His car had also travelled through a Wodonga breath testing site without stopping on August 23.

Stiler was arrested after running from a Ford XR6 on Anderson Street on Australia Day.

Cheyne Orcher drove the vehicle into a driveway and both jumped out and ran off when police moved their car into position, blocking their exit.

Stiler jumped a fence and threw away his wallet, which had a small bag of ice and cards belonging to other people inside.

He had three warrants out for his arrest and a search of the car – which had been bought in Sunbury five days earlier, and had stolen number plates in the boot – found more drugs.

The Wodonga Magistrates Court on Friday heard Stiler had a warrant for imprisonment in NSW, which would result in him going straight to jail for 10 months and 21 days once his Victorian matters were complete.

Defence lawyer Sally Wilson said things had been looking up for the 21-year-old up until a few years ago.

He had finished Year 10 and was a trampoline instructor at a gym, but snapped his Achilles.

That resulted in him being placed on heavy painkiller OxyContin, leading to an addiction he has been battling for a few years.

Family members were in court on Friday supporting Stiler, who has a young daughter. 

“They want to see him turn his life around,” Ms Wilson said.

“He has an exceptionally supportive family.”

Ms Wilson said the 10-month jail term, which stemmed from a NSW order he had failed to complete, was a “big sentence of imprisonment for someone who’s only 21” and hadn’t been in jail before.

“This is his first time in custody,” she said.

Magistrate Peter Mithen told Stiler he was letting his life unravel. 

He urged the 21-year-old to finish his jail term, stay off drugs and mix with people who weren’t going to bring him down. 

“You’re going to have to use a bit of character and backbone,” Mr Mithen said. 

“Rather than being a taker in the community, be a lifter.” 

The 21-year-old already has a three-year driving ban in NSW, with the magistrate imposing a two-year Victorian ban on Friday on charges including dangerous driving.