Learner driver crashes while driving at almost double speed limit in Kennington

A magistrate has stressed how dangerous a learner driver’s behaviour was after he crashed his car into a tree while driving at almost double the speed limit.

Marcus Ledwidge, 18, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Monday to offences including dangerous driving, driving without an experienced driver as a learner, driving an unregistered vehicle, failing to display L-plates and failing to stop for police, in relation to two separate incidents.

On April 25 last year, police saw Ledwidge driving on Eaglehawk Road and subsequent checks revealed the vehicle belonged to a learner driver and the registration had expired.

The vehicle turned onto Bright Street, but when police followed and activated their lights, the vehicle accelerated and drove out of sight.

Then in the early hours of January 6 this year, Ledwidge and friends, in three separate vehicles, took off from the lights at the intersection of Condon Street and Edwards Road.

After about 200 metres, Ledwidge accelerated hard, but lost control of the vehicle at the bend onto Townsend Street and hit a tree.

Ledwidge suffered cuts and lacerations, and was admitted to hospital, where he said he spent two to three days.

A reconstruction of the crash led to an estimate he was travelling at about 117 km/h at the time.

Townsend and Condon streets are 60 km/h zones.

He told police he did not have a reason for his offending in April last year nor in January, except that when he was speeding he “thought it would be fun”.

”You were so close to killing yourself, do you understand that?” Magistrate Tara Hartnett said.

“And if not yourself, then someone else.”

Ms Hartnett cancelled Ledwidge’s licence and disqualified him from driving for the minimum 12 months.

He was also fined $800.

Ms Hartnett said the fine was substantially smaller than that she usually gave such offenders, but had taken into account Ledwidge’s age, his lack of history, and his lack of employment.