Driver ran red lights in lapse of judgment

HARRISON James Cowie had a lapse in judgment when he avoided police doing random breath testing, drove through two red lights at busy intersections and turned his vehicle’s lights off in a bid to escape officers, a court heard yesterday.

Solicitor Travis Johnson said Cowie was the designated driver for friends and decided to speed off when police tried to stop him.

“Not only did he put the officers’ lives at risk, but he put members of the public at risk as well,” Mr Johnson said.

The incident happened less than a month after Cowie was put on an eight-month community corrections order on September 27 in Victoria for an assault at a hotel.

Cowie, 19, of Beechworth Road, Wodonga, appeared for sentencing in Albury Local Court on charges of dangerous driving and failing to comply with a request to stop.

Magistrate Tony Murray was told police managed to get the registration of the vehicle driven by Cowie at about 12.27am on October 19.

Cowie, formerly of Albury, attended the police station the following day and told police: “I just panicked and wanted to get out of there.”

Mr Murray told Cowie: “Your driving was disgraceful, but your behaviour after that was commendable.”

Cowie was put on a 12-month bond, fined $500 and disqualified for 14 months on the dangerous driving charge and received a $100 fine for the other matter.

Police were breath testing in David Street about 100 metres north of Dean Street.

They heard a car approaching at excessive speed and went to stop Cowie for a breath test after he passed the Swift Street intersection.

He was signalled to stop, slowed his car dramatically and police saw it was a dark coloured Ford with Victorian registration.

When about 10 metres from police, Cowie accelerated harshly and went through a red light at Dean Street with 10 to 15 people waiting to cross the intersection.

Police told the court they heard his vehicle increase speed and he drove through another red light at the Smollett Street intersection.

After crossing that intersection, he turned off the headlights on his car and was last seen travelling towards Hume Street.