Biker hits 180kmh in chase

FRANK MICHAEL PHILLIPS gunned the engine of his Honda motorbike, sending it sprinting down the Bruxner Highway.

Phillips had been hurrying to get to his job at the Casino meatworks just after 6.20am on August 8, when police spotted him at McKees Hill. Now he was racing, topping 180km/h as he fled the siren and the flashing lights.

Phillips’ solicitor, Ben Robin, yesterday told Lismore Local Court his client was usually a good driver – he had been booked for speeding only once in the past five years.

“He saw the police and had a brain snap,” Mr Robin told the court.

“He overtook a number of vehicles but he slowed when he reached the town of Casino and went down a side street and tried to hide.”

In fact, police records on the incident showed Phillips, 29 of Goonellabah, passed eight cars and drove towards another 23 as he weaved his black Honda CBR500 through early morning commuter traffic in his efforts to escape the highway patrol’s SS Commodore.

Phillips went so fast the near 15-minute drive from McKees Hill to Foy Street, at Casino, took him a mere four minutes.

Once at Foy Street, Phillips ditched the bike, along with his helmet and jacket, outside a shed and ran down the street on foot.

It didn’t help. He’d fled down a residential street and the highway patrol officers, who had stayed about half a kilometre behind Phillips during most of the chase and had already recorded his bike’s registration number, easily found him standing in a lane behind some houses.

After they spoke to Phillips, the officers went to the shed where he’d left the bike, only to find the property’s occupier calling out to them to tell them which way Phillips had run.

Magistrate Robin Denes put a stop to any more ‘brain snaps’ from Phillips, at least for a year, starting from the date of the offence, and fined him more than $1000.

Ms Denes said the suspension would have been longer, were it not for the efforts he had made since that day – he has completed a traffic offenders program and taken on a second job as a wardsman at Lismore Base Hospital, where he is exposed to the consequences of traffic accidents – and the fact his mother and disabled sister relied on him for transport.

“I can only describe speeds of 180km/h as stupid and dangerous and I hope you now understand why,” Ms Denes said.

“On a motorbike you only have two tiny bits of rubber holding you on the road.”

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