Five teenagers were hospitalised in critical condition following a horrific crash in Sydney’s, North Shore.
Police alleged that the crash followed an assault on a 17-year-old boy where police pursued the Holden Commodore believed to have been connected to the incident.
The teenagers were pursued twice by police on separate occasions.
It was alleged that the vehicle was driven by a 16-year-old unlicensed girl from Mosman however police resisted pursuit due to the erratic driving of the vehicle and risk to public safety.
“That vehicle failed to stop, and as a result, was pursued for short periods of time,” said NSW Police Detective Superintendent Paul Devaney.
Due to the dangerous driving, the vehicle ran off the road at speed into a tree and burst into flames.
The police without hesitation were heroic in pulling the 5 teenagers from the burning vehicle.
Residents described that the police smashed windows to pull the teenagers out with the help of some locals and that without their intervention the outcome could have been disastrous.
“I have viewed the bodycam video footage of the incident, and [police actions] were nothing short of heroic,” Detective Devaney said.
The car contained the owner of the vehicle an 18-year-old man, two 17-year-old boys and two 16-year-old girls one being the unlicensed driver who were taken to Royal North Shore Hospital to receive first aid following the crash at Cammeray.
The teenagers suffered serious injuries such as head, facial and spinal injuries as well as induced comas.
Young drivers hold 16 per cent of the licences in Australia, and also represent the age group with the highest crash rate, according to the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA).
Various studies have shown that the risk of a young driver being involved in a fatal crash is two to three times greater when there are more than 2 passengers in the vehicle around the same age.
This statistic is reduced when there is a mature driver, parent, or guardian in the car with a young driver.
In NSW young people are subject to many license conditions that include limits on speed, type of vehicle they drive and mobile phone use to reduce the risk of harm and increase safety on roads.
Driving Unlicensed in NSW
Under s53 of The Road Transport Act (NSW), it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on any road in NSW without being licensed or employ or permit any person not so licensed to drive a motor vehicle on any road. This carries a penalty of up to $2,200 fine.
Driving unlicensed offences in NSW carry heavy penalties and consequences.
If you commit the same offence within the five years of having committed the first offence, the prescribed maximum penalties are $3,300 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment. As a second or subsequent offence, this also carries an automatic licence disqualification period of 1 year or minimum 3 months.
Police Pursuit | Skye’s Law
In NSW, it is an offence to flee from the police in certain circumstances.
This stems from what is known as “Skye’s Law” which was introduced following the death of toddler Skye Sassine who died when a driver crashed into her parent’s car in an attempt to escape police.
According to section 51B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), engaging in a police pursuit is a very serious crime.
A police pursuit is when a driver of a motor vehicle drives in circumstances in which he or she ought to have reasonably known or had reasonable grounds to suspect that a police officer was in pursuit of him/her, requiring the driver to then stop, yet he or she still continued driving, failing to stop while the driver was driving either recklessly or at a speed or manner dangerous to others.
A police pursuit offence in NSW attracts penalties of up to 3 years imprisonment. For second or subsequent offenders, the penalty is up to 5 years imprisonment.
A first time offender also faces a licence disqualification period of 1 year minimum. A second or subsequent offender faces a licence disqualification period of 5 years (or minimum 2 years at the court’s discretion).
By Alyssa Maschmedt