Berkeley man pleads guilty to police pursuit charge

Daniel Kinnane wasn’t exactly thinking straight on Thursday morning.

He knew he wasn’t allowed to drive, but he got behind the wheel anyway.

He knew he couldn’t out run the police, his fluro green Ford Falcon so distinctive on the road it acted as a virtual homing beacon for those in pursuit. But still, he tried.

And his eventual hiding place – in the roof cavity of a stranger’s home – was a poor pick indeed, with police taking a matter of minutes to locate him.

But arguably his worst choice of the morning involved a split-second decision in the driveway of a house in Barber Street, Berkeley.

Having lead police on a pursuit which involved speeding through an active school zone, Kinnane pulled his car to a stop in the suburban driveway, jumped out of the driver’s seat and flicked the transmission into reverse.

Pursuing officers pulled up behind Kinnane’s car at the same time it rolled down the driveway. The two vehicles collided, causing damage to the front of the police car.

However, police said their quick thinking averted a potential disaster, describing Kinnane’s actions as “reckless and extremely dangerous”. 

“If police had not positioned their vehicle behind the ‘driverless’ offending vehicle, it would have reversed out of the property, across Barber Street and crashed heavily into another residence on the lower side of the street,” arresting officers wrote in documents tendered in court this week.

“This action would have created significant property damage along with significant injuries to other road users or person inside the affected properties.”

A police dog tracked Kinnane inside the house and to the roof area.

He surrendered without issue and was taken to Oak Flats Police Station where he was charged with driving while disqualified and leading police on a police pursuit.  

Kinnane pleaded guilty to both charges in court late Thursday afternoon but sought release on bail ahead of his sentencing.

Defence lawyer Graeme Morrison said Kinnane, 26 and a father of three, had full time work as a removalist in Sydney, could put up a surety and would agree to any conditions imposed by the court if release on bail.

Police opposed the application, noting Kinnane had convictions in the past for failing to appear at court.

In refusing bail, Magistrate Susan McGowan said Kinnane had been placed on a good behaviour bond just last month. 

“Well he’s thumbed his nose at that,” she said.

The case was adjourned to September 18 for sentencing.