Former truckie loses licence for 17 years after crime spree
A SHOAL Point man has lost his licence for 17 years after stealing a car and causing chaos on the roads during a "horrifying" crime spree.
The former road train operator fronted Mackay Magistrates Court from the dock, pleading guilty to 29 offences largely committed between September 28 and October 18 last year.
He was on parole at the time.
Scott Hodgetts' mum and other members of his family sat in court in support on Thursday as the 29-year-old was sentenced.
Hodgetts' offences include four counts of dangerous operation of a vehicle, one count of unlawful use of a vehicle, one count of break and enter, eight counts of disqualified driving by court order, three counts of failing to stop a vehicle and one count of failing to comply with duties of a driver at a crash.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing police, five counts of stealing, one count of wilful damage, one count of unlawfully taking shop goods, one count each of driving unregistered and uninsured and one count of displaying plates from another vehicle.
Magistrate Nerida Wilson, who summed up key prosecution and defence submissions, described Hodgett's criminal history as "significant" .
She said Hodgetts - who served 53 days in jail before his sentencing - had lived in Townsville, but moved to Mackay in recent years.
Much of Hodgetts' criminal behaviour on Mackay region roads followed his theft of a white Toyota LandCruiser from a Townsville home in May last year.
Ms Wilson said he used that car and a Hyundai Excel to recklessly and repeatedly evade police, flipping them the middle finger before speeding through oncoming traffic.
In one spate of offending on Nebo Road in Mackay on October 8, Hodgetts' behaviour behind the wheel forced a truck to swerve suddenly to dodge a head-on crash.
In another incident, on October 6, he collided with a car driving through a roundabout connecting Milton and George streets in Mackay.
Sending the female driver's car into a dizzying spin, Hodgetts didn't bother to stop and check whether she was okay.
Ms Wilson said police officers caught up with Hodgetts on several occasions, after identifying him via CCTV footage, but he denied involvement.
Eventually though, police arrested Hodgetts at Ocean Resort Village in East Mackay; finding him hiding in bed under a quilt.
He struggled, but a constable used "open hand tactics" and took Hodgetts down, Ms Wilson said.
Summing up submissions made by defence barrister Antoinette Morton of Morton Lawyers, Ms Wilson said Hodgetts was a fairly young man who had extensive family support.
She said Hodgetts struggled with drug and alcohol problems, which worsened after his grandmother suffered a crippling spinal injury.
Hodgetts had been his grandmother's primary carer, spending considerable time in a nursing home alongside her.
Additionally, Hodgetts' mum described him as kind and generous, but told the court she offered no excuse for his offending.
Ms Morton had submitted Hodgetts regretted his behaviour and wanted to "turn his life around", Ms Wilson said.
Remarking on the case, she described Hodgetts "lunatic" behaviour as "horrifying" and said it was "almost beyond belief" no one was injured or killed.
"I'm also imagining if I were to talk to your family and they were to be honest with me that they would say they are sick and tired of your behaviour when you are on a drug bender," she said.
"Sick and tired of worrying sick about where you might be, whether you've killed yourself or whether you've killed someone else.
"While you are out on the road under the influence of illicit substances and your are driving in such a reckless and dangerous manner, you put everyone on the road at risk."
However, she took into account his "propensity" for work, time served, the relatively short timeframe of offending, a change in attitude and his guilty pleas.
Ms Wilson sentenced Hodgetts to 50 days jail (already served), fined him $1000 and ordered he serve an "onerous" Intensive Correction Order in the community over a year.
It will include mandatory drug and alcohol counselling, community service, drug testing and attendance at various programs.
Hodgetts' licence has also been disqualified for 17 years and Ms Wilson ordered him to complete a driving safety course at a cost of $500.