The court heard the man's car became airborne at one point during the incident.
The court heard the man's car became airborne at one point during the incident. John Weekes

Dad's absurd excuse for 'extremely reckless' driving

IT BEGAN with him using his mobile phone while driving.

But things escalated quickly for a Bonalbo man who fled from police at speed, his car becoming airborne at one point before he stopped.

Sean Lee Johnson, 36, was seen by police using his mobile phone on Stapleton Avenue in Casino shortly before 10pm on May 23 this year.

Instead of stopping, Johnson drove away at speed after police conducted a U-turn and attempted to stop him.

According to court documents, his red Ford Laser sedan passed a few intersections without slowing down before he made a left turn in which the underside of his car collided with the road surface.

The car was "emitting a large shower of sparks", according to police.

He eventually stopped on a grassy verge on Adam St.

The court heard he reached speeds of about 100km/h in a 50 zone at one point.

When police approached him Johnson said: "I'm sorry, I didn't want to get in trouble for being on the phone".

While he was never charged with engaging in a pursuit, Johnson pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h and using a mobile phone while driving.

When Johnson faced Casino Local Court for sentencing on Thursday, Magistrate Kathy Crittenden said his sentencing assessment report suggested there had been "compliance concerns".

"The author of the (report) was not able to confirm a whole lot of details because according to the report he didn't return their phone calls," she said.

Johnson's solicitor, Vince Boss, told the court the author may have had the wrong phone number and said his client had poor reception.

Mr Boss said the father-of-three had "put a lot of weight on his wife to do the driving".

He said his client had completed the Traffic Offenders Program and had a fresh realisation of the potential impact of his actions on road users.

Ms Crittenden said the incident was "quite bizarre" and may have been a result of panic, but said he was "extremely reckless".

"But there's recklessness that's involved in it," she said.

"It's all about public safety, you've got children of your own.

"All of us shudder to think about what might happen when a person engages in that sort of conduct on the road."

Johnson received a seven month intensive corrections order, was disqualified for 18 months, fined $1700 and ordered to complete 80 hours of community service.


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