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By Latrishka Thomas

An 18-year-old Hatton resident now owes the state $5,500 after he led the police on a high-speed chase last week.

On the night of October 27, Rick Weatherill was driving a rented Toyota Vitz way above the speed limit while travelling along All Saints Road.

Officers from the joint task force curfew reinforcement unit were on patrol when they observed the car, which was occupied by three individuals, overtaking three other vehicles and signalled for the driver to stop.

But Weatherill continued driving at a high speed while swerving in and out of traffic and overtaking other vehicles until he reached a bushy area in Willikies.

The driver and the passengers exited the vehicle and fled the scene, but a subsequent search of the area led to the defendant being apprehended.

He was charged with driving without insurance, driving without a valid licence and dangerous driving.

Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh fined Weatherill $3,000 with a default prison time of three months for having no insurance, and $2,500 with a default of six months’ imprisonment for dangerous driving.

The magistrate also declared that he would be barred from obtaining a driver’s licence for a year.

Meanwhile, Shaquel Joseph, who rented the vehicle for Weatherill, and also rented another vehicle for another youngster, Dante Matthias, was fined $6,000.

On October 25, 18-year-old Matthias gave Joseph $120 to rent a car from a company in Pigotts because Matthias did not have a licence. The next morning, Matthias collected the vehicle in Gray’s Farm and proceeded to drive around.

At around 10am, Matthias stopped at Gray’s Farm Police Station to sign in as was required by the court. However, a police officer who was driving along Federation Road, noticed the defendant entering the car and driving off.

Having suspected that Matthias did not have a driver’s licence, the officer investigated the matter.

On October 29, the officer met Matthias at the police station and told him about his suspicion. The defendant admitted to not having a driver’s licence but claimed that he was not driving.

He then began shouting at the officer “you see, remember you have children”.

He was informed that he was committing an offence and was therefore arrested and charged for using threatening language, disorderly conduct and driving without insurance.

Joseph was later arrested and charged with permitting Weatherill and Matthias to drive the vehicles he had rented.

He was ordered to pay $3,000 for each charge and should he fail to pay, he will spend three months behind bars for each offence. His driver’s licence was also suspended for a year.

Matthias, on the other hand, was fined $300 (or one month in jail) for using threatening language, a further $300 (or one month in jail) for disorderly conduct and $3,000 (or three months in jail) for driving without insurance.

He was reprimanded and discharged for driving without a valid driver’s licence.

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