Grafton CourthousePhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Grafton CourthousePhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

Motorcyclist sentenced over Pacific Hwy police chase

A GRAFTON motorcycle rider who 'panicked' and drove away from pursuing police on the Pacific Highway has escaped jail time.

In Grafton Local Court yesterday, Shane McAnally pleaded guilty to low-range drink-driving, reckless driving, driving while disqualified and driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle.

The charges related to a police chase on the Pacific Highway on July 29, which began after patrolling officers noticed a blue Yamaha motorcycle travelling south at South Grafton had no numberplate. As they followed the rider, officers noticed him standing on his foot pegs for extended period, and turned on their lights and sirens in an attempt to pull him over.

Instead, McAnally sped up, turning off onto Six Mile Lane where he overtook a car towing a trailer on the wrong side of the road, while tearing around a sweeping right hand bend at between 100km/h-120km/h.

When he turned onto The Avenue, which was closed for the construction of roads around the new Grafton jail, the 24-year-old jumped off the bike, letting it continue and crash, while he ran into bushland.

Police gave chase and later found him hiding in the trunk of a fallen tree.

Hours later, at 3.20pm, McAnally recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.060, and admitted to drinking several schooners into the early hours that day.

Officers noted he appeared remorseful and told them he panicked because he knew he was disqualified due to a prior mid-range drink-driving charge.

McAnally's defence solicitor repeated this sentiment in court, saying the defendant put his actions down to a "brain snap". He argued McAnally was still young, and was a hard worker who at one point held down two jobs.

"I can't explain or understand why someone with a disqualified licence would do what you did," Magistrate Robyn Denes said. "What people really don't understand is (their actions can) have long-term implications for other people."

In sentencing McAnally to a 12-month suspended jail term, $600 in fines and two years off the road, the magistrate pointed out the young driver would have had his licence back next month if not for the latest charges.

McAnally replied: "I know, I think about it every day."