Man drives on wrong side of FWY for 10kms

A man who drove on the wrong side of the Western Freeway for more than 10-kilometres has been incarcerated.

Anthony Cooper, of Ballarat, appeared in the Bacchus Marsh Magistrates Court on Friday where he pleaded guilty to charges of unlicensed driving, dangerous driving and drink driving.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Aimee Heal said the defendant had attended a hotel in Melton at approximately 4:30pm on Sunday August 2, where he was observed drinking beer with a male friend.

The 45-year-old then proceeded to drive to a nearby liquor store, where he purchased a slab of Carlton Draught and a four pack of premixed bourbon and cola.

As he set off for Ballarat, the accused made an incorrect turn near Greendale and ended up on the wrong side of the freeway, the court heard.

Senior Constable Heal said triple-zero received 20 different calls from concerned drivers, including a man who was forced to swerve out of the way before overcorrecting and ending up on the medium strip with two punctured tyres.

After two failed attempts to intercept the defendant, a police vehicle was finally able to stop the man and arrest him.

At about 10pm, Mr Cooper was placed in a cell at the Bacchus Marsh Police station in order to sober up and his vehicle was impounded for 30 days.

In a police interview the following day, Mr Cooper said the only thing he remembered was dropping off his kids at 4:15pm and going to the pub.

Mr Cooper was unlicensed at the time and had six prior drink-driving charges in Victoria and two in New South Wales.

However his defence counsellor stated that although there was an obvious issue with alcohol, Mr Cooper had a very strong work ethic and was making the appropriate steps towards change – including therapy.

A character reference and psychological report was provided to Magistrate Hodgson, however was not read aloud in court.

Magistrate Hodgson said the defendant was lucky no one was seriously hurt and whilst she took into consideration his early guilty plea and attempt at change – a general deterrence had to be significant.

Mr Cooper was incarcerated for a period of one month with a 15-month Community Corrections Order to follow.

His license was cancelled for four years.

First appeared in The Moorabool News, October 27 2015

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