A Lake Heights father of four used the industrial backlots of Unanderra as his "own personal race track" conducting burnouts in front of police and reaching 160kmh in a 50kmh zone in a self-converted Holden Commodore ute.
Paulo Jose Coelho, 41, was sentenced in Wollongong local court on Thursday, October 12 on four counts including prolong and sustain loss of traction, and police pursuit, not stop, drive dangerously.
Coelho holds a day job as a casual air conditioner mechanic but spends his free time modifying cars.
It was in one of these vehicles police spotted Coelho conducting burnouts in front of a crowd in Unanderra near midnight on Friday, July 28.
At 11.20pm that evening, police had stopped a car on Waverly Drive, Unanderra when they heard the sounds of burnouts coming from Doyle Avenue.
Turning onto Doyle Avenue, police saw a large cloud of tyre smoke coming from a black Holden Commodore ute.
While continuing to do a burnout, the car approached the fully marked police car, and officers could see the ute had no number plates, no bonnet and no working tail lights.
Police turned on their lights and sirens, indicating for the car to stop, but the ute sped off, leading police on a dangerous, high speed chase through the Unanderra industrial estate.
During the chase, Coelho reached speeds of up to 160kmh in a 50kmh zone, drove on the wrong side of the road to overtake another driver and fishtailed through intersections and roundabouts, conducting burnouts in full view of the police.
According to documents tendered to the court, Coelho drove past the initial crowd that were watching him do burnouts multiple times during the chase and "treated the public roads like his own personal race track".
The documents state that Coelho's driving put himself and others at serious risk of danger.
Ultimately the chase came to a stop when Coelho drove into the drive way of an industrial lot, after which police removed Coelho from the vehicle and arrested him.
Coelho was breath tested, returning a negative result, however further checks revealed the ute Coelho was driving was last registered in 2019.
Documents state the vehicle was "not roadworthy" with interior panels taken out and the car fitted with a "highly modified" supercharged engine.
When interviewed, Coelho told police he was just "testing" the engine, leading Magistrate Claire Girotto to remark that Coelho would have been left in no doubt of the capability of his vehicle.
"You certainly tried the performance of your car out doing 160 [kmh] but you can't do that," Ms Girotto said.
Coelho's lawyer Matteo Russinnello said his client, an amateur car enthusiast, "panicked" when police arrived on scene.
Ms Girotto remained nonplussed.
"What were you thinking? Why didn't you just stop?"
"Burnouts are illegal, if you need to do them, you should do them somewhere you're allowed to, not on the street."
Ms Girotto sentenced Coelho to an eight month intensive corrections order and 100 hours of community service.
Coelho will be disqualified for driving for 12 months and have to pay nearly $2000 worth of fines and court costs.
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