Baffle Creek man may still avoid jail after 14th DUI
A BAFFLE Creek man with 13 previous drink-driving convictions will soon find out if he will serve time in prison for a 14th offence.
Gregg Edward Haywood, 53, has received prison sentences for drink-driving offences five times in the past.
He has also been imprisoned for unlicenced and disqualified driving.
Prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens told Gladstone Magistrates Court yesterday Mr Haywood's record was "horrendous" and a serious example of breaching community trust.
Mr Haywood was in court to enter guilty pleas to charges of drink driving and driving while disqualified.
The latest charges stemmed from an incident on November 20 at Cooloola on the Sunshine Coast, where he was visiting his girlfriend.
The couple were parked at an IGA with her dog in the back seat when they got into a verbal argument and she left.
Fearing he would miss his lift back to Bundaberg and not wanting to leave the dog in a carpark, Mr Haywood began to drive down Rainbow Beach Rd to a house where he could safely leave the dog and car.
That's when police spotted Mr Haywood, who was disqualified from driving until August 5, 2020, at the time.
Officers followed him onto Freshwater Rd where he veered off-road and through bushland, travelling about 50 metres before hitting a tree.
Police found him with the dog about 200m away, after which he blew a blood-alcohol level reading of 0.031 per cent.
Defence lawyer Cassandra Ditchfield said her client had made a "foolish decision" when circumstances took a turn.
Ms Ditchfield said he had only consumed a small amount of alcohol and had not expected to be driving.
She pointed to her client's anxiety as an explanation for his decision to run from police.
Sgt Stevens asked magistrate Melanie Ho to impose concurrent prison sentences of eight months and nine months for the drink driving and disqualified driving respectively, as a strong deterrent.
He also asked her to absolutely disqualify Mr Haywood from driving - meaning he would have to convince a court he deserved to have a licence if he ever wished to drive again.
"He has a propensity to drive while having alcohol in his system," Sgt Stevens said.
"He's endangered himself by his continual contempt for this court and the community, and placed the community at risk."
As the court examined Mr Haywood's previous convictions, it became apparent he had also been on parole at the time - which neither the prosecution or defence were aware of going into court.
Ms Ho told Mr Haywood she would adjourn the case to May 1 to allow both sides to take this into account and to organise a mental-health assessment.
"If we are going to send you to prison I want to make sure we get it right," she said.
"And if I'm not... I want to make sure I get that right too.
"You don't want them appealing, or defence appealing, because we've rushed into it."