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Car thief who crashed into police car 'didn't even think'

Date

Louis Andrews

The site of the collision.

The site of the collision. Photo: ACT Policing

A parolee car thief who led officers on a high-speed chase before crashing into a police car says he "just put my foot down and didn't even stop for police".

Derek Joseph Williams was on parole, on a suspended sentence and a suspect in as many as 70 car break-ins when he sped through the city's north in a stolen car.

Police arrived in Thynne Street, Bruce, in the early hours of Thursday after getting reports of men breaking into vehicles.

The damaged police car.

The damaged police car. Photo: ACT Policing

The ACT Magistrates Court this afternoon heard police are investigating as many as 50 recent car break-ins in Belconnen, with Williams a suspect.

Williams is also suspected of involvement in up to 20 car break-ins in Kingston on Wednesday.

When police got to Thyne Street they spotted two cars, a white Toyota Vienta and a blue Ford Falcon, speeding away.

They tried to pull the Toyota over but driver sped off.

Police chased the car through Bruce and Lyneham for three minutes, with the fleeing vehicle reaching a top speed of 143km per hour in an 80-zone.

The driver began to slow down when it reached Northbourne Avenue and police, expecting the occupant to bail and flee on foot, moved to block the car's path.

The car crashed into the police vehicle, resulting in an officer going to hospital with minor injuries.

Williams got out of his vehicle and ran away but was chased down.

Police found seven clipseal bags of suspected methylamphetamine on him, but the 30-year-old today said he merely found the bags in the stolen car.

The Kambah man has pleaded guilty to taking a motor vehicle without consent, driving disqualified, dangerous driving and failing to stop.

"I didn't even think, I just put my foot down and didn't even stop for police," Williams told Magistrate Peter Dingwall.

"Somebody could have got badly injured by myself."

But he has denied involvement in the larger spate of car break-ins, which he has not been charged with.

Williams sought bail, arguing he had a young daughter staying temporarily with an ex-partner, and needed to care for her.

But the prosecution submitted Williams had a "very extensive criminal history".

The court heard he was released from Goulburn jail in February for "very similar offences".

A police officer told the court Williams had previously failed to appear for court dates and went to "extreme lengths" to avoid arrest during the pursuit.

"I would suggest that he doesn't want to be apprehended and certainly doesn't want to go to jail of any kind," the officer said.

The court also heard a one-of-a-kind key to a car stolen in a recent burglary was found in Williams' clothing.

But Williams, who represented himself in court, denied any knowledge of the key, or how it came into his possession.

He has not been charged with the burglary.

The defendant promised not to "go on the run", and offered to report regularly to police.

But Mr Dingwall said the risk of releasing him on bail was too great.

Williams is due back in court next month.

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