A MAN who was caught driving erratically in a stolen car on the Calder Freeway has been jailed for 10 months.
Anthony Minos, 39, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Thursday where he pleaded guilty to charges including theft of a motor vehicle.
The court heard a number of people called 000 on November 21 last year to report an erratic driver on the Calder Freeway in Woodend.
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Witnesses said the driver was swerving between lanes and travelling between speeds of 20km/h and 160km/h, before colliding into a barrier.
Police arrived on scene and saw debris strewn across the freeway.
Minos was found in his broken down vehicle in the emergency lane. He tried to drive off but was instead arrested.
The court heard the car was a stolen rental from Melbourne Airport and one of the number plates was an outstanding stolen item.
Minos appeared to be heavily drug affected when he was arrested. He was taken to the Castlemaine Police Station for questioning.
He denied driving dangerously and said he had purchased the car from a man. The 39-year-old conceded he had a "fair idea" the vehicle was stolen.
Defence lawyer Claudia Flocke said Minos had only been released from custody for other offending on November 4.
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Ms Flocke said the 39-year-old tried to find rental accommodation but when Corrections Victoria said the housing was unsuitable, he relapsed into drug use and became homeless.
The defence lawyer said drug abuse was a longstanding issue for Minos, who began using methamphetamine as a teenager before turning to heroin.
Ms Flocke submitted that a jail term was the only appropriate sentence because a corrections order would only set Minos up to fail.
Magistrate Russell Kelly agreed prison was the only reasonable cause of action.
Mr Kelly noted Minos' lengthy prior convictions but said he accepted an early guilty plea during the COVID-19 pandemic was valuable.
Minos was convicted and jailed for 10 months, with 52 days of pre-sentence detention reckoned as already served.
The 39-year-old was also fined $250 and he was disqualified from driving for six months.
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