A Dapto tradie was driving like "maniac" when he did a burnout so wild it tore the tyres from the wheels, a court has heard.
Magistrate Darryl Pearce delivered a tongue lashing to Daniel Issac Ratcliffe in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday, accusing the 22-year-old of putting lives in danger and saying he was lucky not to find himself in jail.
"You were driving like a maniac," he said.
"In a few second you destroyed your car and you put others in danger."
A set of agreed facts tendered to the court said police saw Ratcliffe driving the VS Holden Commodore down Gloucester Boulevard at Port Kembla on the evening of June 30 and pulled him over after checks revealed his licence was suspended.
When questioned, Ratcliffe denied any knowledge of the status of his licence and police - giving him the "benefit of the doubt" - issued him with a formal notice advising him of the suspension.
However just hours later, Ratcliffe was caught doing a massive burnout at the intersection of Ralph Black Drive and Montague Street in North Wollongong.
The court heard the burnout only stopped after both the Commodore's rear tyres burst and disintegrated, causing rubber to slap the sides of the vehicle and sparks to fly out from the steel rims.
Ratcliffe had an audience at the time, with up to four cars seen parked nearby and all the occupants standing near the roadway.
Officers said the car began spewing out smoke and steam as Ratcliffe "limped" it over to the kerb. A second man immediately jumped from the passenger seat, defying a police direction to stay inside the vehicle.
"I just want to make sure it's not on fire," he told the officers.
In court on Tuesday, defence lawyer Graeme Morrison described Ratcliffe as "ordinarily well behaved".
"He can give no explanation for why he continues to drive," Mr Morrison said.
"He completely trashed the car."
Magistrate Pearce fined Ratcliffe $1700 in total and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.
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