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Drug Rehab for Suspended Driver

Drug Rehab for Suspended Driver

A BALLARAT man avoided a jail sentence for driving offences because he was about to enter a drug rehab program, a court heard yesterday.

Police intercepted Dusty Bower, 26, at 7.35pm on the Western Fwy near Invermay on April 18.

Bower was travelling at 144kmh in a 110km zone, the Ballarat Magistrate's Court heard.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Steven Kent said Bower failed to produce a licence when asked by police, then gave a false name and address.

Bower had drunk three or four cans of bourbon and recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.08, the court heard.

He was also driving while suspended.

Defence lawyer Jeremy Harper said Bower had been driving his friend's car. He said Bower's friend had attended football training then had a few drinks and Bower offered to drive him home.

Bower had been travelling at the correct speed but had wanted to overtake three large vehicles to get back into the left lane, the court heard.

Mr Harper said Bower had a history of drug abuse and had panicked when he was intercepted by police.

He said Bower would be entering Odyssey House, a 24-hour-a-day residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Richmond this week.

Bower had a difficult background and had struggled with using heroin and speed, the court heard.

Mr Harper said "there was a lot at stake" and Bower was motivated to make a change.

Magistrate Peter Couzens said Bower had put his freedom in jeopardy.

He said Bower had a history of dishonesty that needed to be addressed.

Magistrate Couzens said if a jail sentence was imposed Bower would lose his place in the drug rehab program. He warned Bower that if there was another driving offence he would be sent to jail.

Bower pleaded guilty to one charge of exceeding the speed limit, one charge of exceeding the blood alcohol limit, one charge of driving while disqualified and one charge of stating a false name.

He was sentenced to 42 days in jail suspended for two years and convicted and fined $700 and $61.30 in costs. His licence was also suspended for 16 months.

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