A Queensland driver will spend 20 months behind bars after leading police on a 150km-long chase from Lake George to the foothills of Macquarie Pass then ditching his hire car in dense bushland and trying to flee through cow paddocks.
Police first clapped eyes on Gene Harris just before 6pm on November 8 as he sped past them on the Federal Highway at Collector, half way between Canberra and Goulburn.
Officers attempted to stop him but he fled, overtaking a number of cars at speeds of up to 180km/h. The decision was made not to pursue him due to safety concerns.
More police tracked Harris as he drove along the Hume Highway, passing Goulburn and Marulan before turning onto the Illawarra Highway at Suttons Forrest and heading towards Robertson.
Illawarra Highway Patrol officers intercepted Harris at the bottom of Macquarie Pass and gave chase, but terminated the pursuit due to Harris' dangerous manner of driving. A short time later, a homeowner on Lake View Road reported seeing a man running through their farm.
The police helicopter and the dog unit quickly descended on the area and discovered Harris hiding in bushland. The vehicle, a Toyota Camry, was discovered a few hundred metres away, also concealed in dense foliage.
Harris was found in possession of the Camry keys, a 22cm-long fold-out knife, a Visa card in another name and 2.5grams of crystal meth when he was searched.
He was charged with dangerous driving and police pursuit offences, to which he pleaded guilty in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart sentenced Harris to two-and-a-half years' jail, with a non-parole period of 20 months, and banned him from driving for five years.