High-speed ride of terror in tray of man’s own ute
Stuck in the rear tray of a stolen ute at speeds allegedly far exceeding 100km/h, Kanimbla sparky Greg Hamill did not expect his life to be flashing before his eyes when he went to bed on Sunday.
When most of Cairns was asleep during an Easter weekend in lockdown, Mr Hamill, 29, was hanging on for dear life in the tray of his Nissan ute as two alleged car thieves careened through the western suburbs.
At one point Mr Hamill alleged the needle of the ute's speedo had locked to the far right as the men desperately tried to shake their unexpected passenger.
"I had to lay down in the bottom of the tray watching the speedo through the back window," Mr Hamill said.
"They ran two red lights."
Barely ten minutes before, in the early hours of Monday morning, Mr Hamill was woken by the sound of his garage door opening at his McFarlane Dr residence. "I thought 'holy sh-t, someone is stealing the car,'" he said.
If the alleged thieves had anticipated an easy joy ride, they would be mistaken.
With barely a moment's thought the former equestrian showjumper ran from the house and flung himself into the tray as the ute sped toward Ramsey Dr. His girlfriend was left to find the doors of the house wide open and no trace of either the ute or Mr Hamill.
Meanwhile her boyfriend was re-evaluating his spur-of-the-moment decision.
"I thought they would submit but that's not how it had turned out," Mr Hamill said.
He alleged the pair swerved down the road at high speed, occasionally braking to dislodge the stowaway who clung like a barnacle.
"I could see the driver in the rear vision mirror, he was freaking out," Mr Hamill said
He alleged that over the roar of the wind and the engine, he tried to reason with the driver, yelling 'you're crazy, you're going to get done for manslaughter or kill us all the way you're driving'."
By this time the ute had allegedly been taken as far as Caravonica and was headed to Manunda.
"He would not slow down," Mr Hamill said. The trio then allegedly began a bizarre negotiation - Mr Hamill concerned he would lose expensive testing equipment in the ute while the driver, refusing to relent, allegedly told his passenger to jump out at Edge Hill.
"It came to the point where I got really aggressive, punching the window," Mr Hamill said.
The death-defying ride ended on Murray St when the alleged car thieves slowed the ute to about 20km/h and jumped out, leaving Mr Hamill to hop into the driver's seat and stop the now runaway vehicle before it hit a house.
Two minutes later an unmarked police car pulled up.
"He thought I was a crazy man, with no shirt on in Murray St," Mr Hamill said. One of the alleged offenders was later arrested and charged with burglary, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, common assault and stealing.
He appeared in Cairns Magistrates Court yesterday but did not enter a plea.
The matter has been adjourned for long plea on May 13.