A North Wollongong man has been disqualified from driving for 12 months after an off-duty highway patrol officer followed him while he drove erratically through North Wollongong streets.
Jarred Dylan Klaasen, 31, was sentenced in Wollongong Local Court yesterday for driving recklessly in a dangerous manner or speed.
Agreed facts said Klaasen was the only person in his white Holden Astra hatchback at the car park near Wollongong Lighthouse about 9.30pm on January 5 this year.
When Klaasen drove out of the car park onto Endeavour Drive, he failed to give way to an off-duty police highway patrol officer causing him to break harshly.
The officer had to swerve to avoid a collision while he had four other people in his car.
Klaasen proceeded to drive onto the incorrect side of the road, with the section commonly used by pedestrians.
About 260 metres later, Klaasen returned to the correct lane at which time he switched off the car's headlights and turned off the engine while in the middle of the lane.
The officer pulled alongside Klaasen but moments later he restarted his car and in a rapid, harsh and jerky motion turned left, creating a screeching sound.
The officer contacted police and followed Klaasen as he drove to a roundabout at the intersection of Cliff Road. He again switched off his headlights only to turn them back on before he did a full lap of the roundabout, exiting onto Cliff Road in a northerly direction.
Klaasen continued along the road but swerved onto the incorrect side on more than three occasions, only narrowly missing cars.
He did not travel at a consistent speed, at times slowing to almost a walking pace before rapidly accelerating to about 50km/h.
Klaasen continued to veer onto the wrong side of the road as he failed to negotiate a left turn onto Bourke Street before he corrected.
A Wollongong police car approached in the opposite direction prompting Klaasen to accelerate harshly to 70km/h.
The off-duty police officer continued to follow Klaasen into a Noel Street unit block car park, driving at high speed, before parking.
The officer waited for police to arrive who then spoke to Klaasen about his manner of driving. He was later charged.
In court yesterday, Klaasen's lawyer said his client's actions were "quite foolish" and there was a potential for others to be injured. He said his client had an argument with his then-girlfriend before he got into the car.
The lawyer said Klaasen wanted to say sorry to the police officer and was embarrassed by his actions after he saw footage of the incident.
The court heard Klaasen was born in South Africa, was now single and previously worked as a chef but was now on JobKeeper.
Magistrate Claire Girotto said Klaasen's driving was "erratic" and appeared like he had a "brain snap".
She placed him on a 12-month community corrections order, disqualified him for driving for 12 months and he must attend psychology sessions and complete the traffic offenders program.
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