THE driver who led police on a high speed pursuit that ended in flames is facing a number of serious charges after a bedside bail hearing at Coffs Harbour Hospital on Tuesday.
Coffs/Clarence duty officer Acting Inspector Darren Williams said the 22-year-old Queensland man received conditional bail and will appear before Coffs Harbour Local Court on December 18 on numerous charges, including police pursuit (Skye's Law) and driving recklessly and furiously.
Acting Insp Williams said members of the public reported a number of driving complaints to police as far north as Tweed Heads on Sunday morning, before the person of interest driving a Nissan X-Trail was involved in a police pursuit by officers from the Richmond Local Area Command.
"At about 9.30am on Sunday the person was detected on the incorrect side of the highway at Tabbimoble heading south, but the pursuit was terminated," he said.
"Officers from Maclean observed the vehicle on the northern side of Harwood later that day still driving erratically but didn't pursue, instead moved to assist Grafton officers who were looking to deploy road spikes in the Grafton area.
"The driver reached Ulmarra and entered the town when Grafton police performed a U-turn to engage in the pursuit. The X-Trail drove 100m south of Ulmarra and at the intersectino of King St was on the incorrect side of the road and collided with another vehicle.
"Police removed both drivers due to the vehicles catching alight, and they attempted to extinguish the flames to no avail. Both cars were quickly engulfed with flames and destroyed."
Acting Insp Williams said the driver of the other vehicle was a 69-year-old male, who suffered non-life threatening injuries.
A roadside breath test on the Queensland driver found he was intoxicated, and Acting Insp Williams said he may face further charges after a full toxicology report was completed.
"He suffered internal injuries which required surgery," Acting Insp Williams said.
"His erratic driving that was reported by members of the public was what initiated the pursuit."