Golden Square hoon off roads for a year

A HOON driver who skidded for a kilometre along a stretch of nature strips in Golden Square has been taken off the road for 12 months.

Joel Coutts, 21, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates Court this week where he pleaded guilty to drug-driving, careless driving and speeding.

The court heard the first incident occurred on July 13 last year, when Coutts was pulled over by police in Pall Mall.

Acting Sergeant Lindsay Riley said Coutts did not have his P-plates displayed and an oral fluid test showed the presence of amphetamine.

“He said he had taken the drug the night before,” Acting Sergeant Riley said.

“It was a tablet his mate gave him.”

Two days after the first incident Coutts was seen driving his ute erratically in Golden Square, mounting the nature strip.

Acting Sergeant Riley said CCTV footage showed Coutts revving his engine loudly and the ute’s tyres losing traction as he drove for a kilometre along the grass.

He said Coutts then sped down Specimen Hill Road, overtaking a truck on the left-hand side in a bicycle lane.

When Coutts was spoken to by police he admitted that what he had done was “stupid” and said he had overtaken the truck because he didn’t want the car behind him to get his registration number and report him to police.

The court heard Coutts had celebrated his 21st birthday on July 12, the night before the drug-driving offence.

Magistrate Frank Jones said he stuck to “grog”, not drugs, when celebrating a birthday.

“The times have changed,” he said, shaking his head.

“This is about reaction time if he had got himself into a situation of danger. What made you take the drugs, anyway? There’s some shocking side-effects.”

Coutts told the magistrate it was because someone had given them to him.

Mr Jones said that was no proper explanation. “You have to get some counselling about drugs because you can’t tell me why you’re using drugs,” he said.

Mr Jones cancelled Coutts’ licence for 12 months and fined him $800.

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