Five young people, including a teenage girl, were refused bail yesterday in an Armidale court over a rock- throwing incident on a main road which left the 29-year-old driver of another car critically injured.
The man, believed to be from the New England area, was in a critical condition after being airlifted to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle for emergency surgery.
Police earlier reported that he was driving a utility along Guyra-Ebor Rd when a rock crashed through the windscreen, striking him in the head and causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
The man’s father was believed to have been the passenger in the dual- cab and police have praised his actions in managing to grab the wheel of the car, and finally bring it under control further down the road.
The explosive events and drama had begun earlier in the afternoon, when police tried to stop a car reported stolen from Queensland.
Early yesterday afternoon they had a sequel in Armidale Local Court when five people faced numerous charges over the drama.
Four people, all from Queensland, had bail applications refused by magistrate Mark Richardson, who cited the severity of the alleged offences, the flight risk, and the danger posed to the community.
The charges related to the events during and after a police pursuit on the New England Highway on Thursday afternoon.
Highway Patrol Officers tried to stop an allegedly stolen white Holden Commdore sedan 30km north of Glen Innes just after 4pm.
Police pursued the car but terminated the chase for safety reasons after a rock was thrown at an unmarked police car.
The suspected stolen car continued south along the highway before turning onto the Guyra-Ebor Road.
A short time later, a passenger was allegedly spotted throwing rocks at oncoming traffic.
One of the projectiles penetrated the windscreen of a blue dual-cab four-wheel-drive ute - striking the driver, a 29-year-old man, in the head.
The man immediately lost consciousness at the wheel, forcing his father, who was travelling in the front passenger’s seat, to take control of the vehicle.
He managed to stop the car about 2km down the road.
The injured man was taken by NSW Ambulance Paramedics to Armidale Hospital before being airlifted to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital for emergency treatment.
He remained in a critical condition after surgery on Friday morning.
Western region commander, Assistant Police Commissioner Geoff McKechnie said the stricken man’s father had done a “remarkable job” in bringing the ute back under control and preventing a collision from occurring.
Police were the first on scene and rendered first-aid to the 29-year-old man until paramedics arrived.
It is understood both occupants of the ute are local to the New England area.
“It’s just tragic that a person can be driving their vehicle, minding their own business and then for this type of act to be perpetrated on them - it just defies description really,” Mr McKechnie said.
Meanwhile, the five occupants of the stolen car were arrested by police after their car crashed into a patrol car on the Wollombi-Wongwibinda Road.
Inquiries by police have revealed a truck and two other cars were allegedly hit by rocks thrown from the stolen car.
The 27-year-old driver, Aaron Robert Dare, was charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a person with intent, using an offensive weapon in company to prevent detention, driving dangerously and failing to stop when pursued by police.
He was also charged with robbery, with the prosecutor alleging that he had entered a house, threatened the occupant, and stolen petrol.
In arguing that bail be refused, the prosecutor said Dare was currently on a suspended sentence and was wanted by Queensland Police for six break and enters and two pursuits in the same vehicle as was used in this incident.
The other three men, Anthony James Glover, Robert Joseph Jackson and Kelvin Mark Muckan, all aged 21 or 22 years, and a woman, Jade Amber Mocsay, aged 19, faced charges similar to Dare’s, but without the dangerous driving and robbery charges.
The court was told the woman was the only one of the five without a criminal record; however, the prosecutor claimed she had admitted to police that she had thrown all the rocks.
In refusing bail, Mr Richardson said: “This is somewhat different to the other cases as all the others had a criminal record, either a significant one or a limited one. While she has no record, it is alleged she was engaged in conduct of a very serious nature.”
The prosecutor alleged the five people had collected rocks at the Queensland border prior to entering NSW specifically to be used against police if they came under police notice.
The magistrate noted that if convicted, each of them would be looking at a significant custodial sentence.
The case was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions list to appear again on November 21.
A Critical Incident Investigation Team made up of officers from Tamworth and the New England command has been established to examine the incident.