5 July 2022

Man admits driving into police officer during Nimmitabel hit and run

| Albert McKnight
Man with a cap

Stephen John McCracken, 30, has pleaded guilty in the Queanbeyan court. Photo: Facebook.

A man has admitted crashing into a police officer, leaving him with brain damage, before fleeing the scene in a hit and run on the Monaro Highway.

Stephen John McCracken, 30, was arrested along with other Canberra residents, 26-year-old Jaiden Dale Gardner and 43-year-old Rebecca Keys, towards the end of last year.

When they first appeared in the ACT’s Magistrates Court, the prosecutor warned that the injured officer may never work again, while the magistrate said the allegations described him being “mowed down” by a car.

On Tuesday (5 July), McCracken joined the Queanbeyan Local Court over audio-visual link from a Sydney jail where the court heard he would admit his role in the incident.

Agreed court documents say the trio were in Nimmitabel on 30 August 2021, where Gardner allegedly stole a Toyota LandCruiser that was parked out the front of a home at about 8 pm.

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Police began searching for the LandCruiser and two officers spotted it on the Monaro Highway shortly afterwards, giving chase as its driver allegedly refused to stop for them.

The officers had to speed up to 160 km/h to catch up. It stopped near Tip Road, outside Nimmitabel, and Gardner allegedly got out and ran towards an Audi A5 that had parked nearby.

The officers also stopped and got out of their car to try to arrest him.

But the driver of the Audi, McCracken, took off when Gardner allegedly got inside and one of the police officers ended up on the bonnet of the car.

McCracken accelerated and the officer was carried on the bonnet for about 30 metres along the highway before being thrown onto the road and landing face down. McCracken then sped off towards Cooma.

The police officer was airlifted to Canberra Hospital and was found to have received a traumatic brain injury, a skull fracture and a scalp laceration.

He had prolonged memory loss and was discharged from hospital in September 2021.

When McCracken was arrested, he told police he had no memory of the incident and was addicted to methylamphetamine.

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In court, McCracken’s lawyer, Taden Kelliher of Tim Sharman Solicitors, said his client would plead guilty to charges of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, as well as failing to stop and assist after the impact of a vehicle caused grievous bodily harm.

He also pleaded guilty to other unrelated charges.

Magistrate Roger Clisdell said the hit and run matter would be committed to the Queanbeyan District Court for sentencing, with the first appearance in the higher court to be in August for a mention.

McCracken did not apply for bail. He faces up to 11 years in jail.

It is unclear at what stage Gardner and Keys’ charges are up to.

Original Article published by Albert McKnight on Riotact.

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