Flinders man refused bail over wild police pursuit: court

Samuel Cunningham
Samuel Cunningham

A Flinders man remains behind bars, accused of leading a high-speed chase south-west of Wollongong, complete with Polair and dog squad involvement.

Police allege 24-year-old Sam Cunningham showed "complete disregard for human life" in his bid to avoid apprehension the morning of April 7.

When police eventually caught up with him, that afternoon, he admitted to being in the car but blamed the chase on a fictitious driver called Jamie.

"I am pretty sure he lives in Queensland now," he allegedly told police.  

Cunningham was charged several days later when police viewed CCTV footage from an area petrol station, which showed him buying fuel and Slurpies before allegedly getting into the driver's seat of a silver Nissan Pulsar that would be involved in the pursuit, minutes later. 

Southbound police turned to follow the northbound car on the Princes Highway at Unanderra about 10.43am, after the occupants allegedly saw their marked car and ducked. 

Police say the car took off on the wrong side of the road, into oncoming traffic, after they pulled up behind it at a set of lights at the intersection with West Dapto Road at Kembla Grange. 

Police followed at a distance and later initiated a pursuit. 

The chase was terminated near the crest of a hill after Cunningham allegedly wove in and out of traffic and accelerated to 100kmh in a 50kmh zone. 

A short time later, police attended a home at Farmborough Road, Farmborough Heights, where passers-by had reported seeing a car dumped with the engine still running.

Police were told two men had jumped into a neighbouring backyard and made off into bushland. 

A chopper was called in and a police dog led police to a dumped white cap, grey cap, sunglasses, thongs and a mobile phone, before the search was abandoned. 

Police encountered Cunningham running through the German Club at Berkeley about 4pm that afternoon. 

He allegedly wore a black t-shirt printed with the words Hustle Unite, which police would later recognise from CCTV footage collected from the service station. 

Cunningham denied involvement in the chase and was allowed to leave. 

He was arrested on Friday, after police tracked down his alleged passenger, who detailed his experience of the pursuit.

"I was gonna punch him in the head. It was so dangerous; we went on the wrong side of the road and everything," the  man allegedly told police. 

In documents tendered to Wollongong Local Court on Saturday, police argued against Cunningham's release. 

"Police believe the accused will continue to show complete disregard for the law and will continue to drive and re-offend." 

Bail was refused.

The matter returns to court on Tuesday.