A Braddon woman is spending her 30th birthday behind bars after leading police on a lengthy pursuit across Canberra, only stopping when she crashed into a sign after two tyres fell off the stolen car she was driving.
Samantha Jane Campbell, who was already subject to a suspended jail sentence, pleaded guilty to five charges in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday following the chase earlier in the morning.
Court documents reveal the Centrelink beneficiary "accelerated heavily" away from police when officers tried to stop the stolen Holden Commodore she was driving down her street about 3.39am.
Campbell fled all the way to suburban Tuggeranong with a range of dangerous manoeuvres, including driving on the wrong side of the road, speeding and not stopping at red lights.
Police managed to deflate the stolen car's driver's side tyres using "stop sticks" in Richardson, but Campbell kept driving.
Those tyres eventually fell off and the Commodore "began to swerve across the road", as police put it, causing sparks to emanate from the wheel rims as they dragged along the ground.
Campbell managed to get to Calwell before the car "fishtailed badly" as she turned into Were Street, where the vehicle left the road and crashed into a sign.
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Police officers who approached the car described Campbell as being "highly emotional and argumentative" as they tried to get her to open the driver's door.
When the 30-year-old eventually did this, about four hours into her milestone birthday, she was handcuffed and arrested.
Campbell appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court later in the morning, via audio-visual link from a remote room.
She immediately pleaded guilty to charges of failing to stop for police, aggravated dangerous driving, failing to stop at a red light, driving a stolen vehicle, and driving without ever held a licence.
Court documents say the owner of the stolen Commodore had earlier told police "a house guest she knows only as Sam" nicked it.
Campbell applied for bail after entering her guilty pleas, telling magistrate Robert Cook she would be happy to live under house arrest.
"I'm actually looking after my mum at the moment," she said.
Campbell also volunteered that she was receiving methadone daily.
Legal Aid lawyer Tamzin Lee added that the woman was "currently on Centrelink", and that the Aboriginal Legal Service bail support team was "willing to help her" if she was released.
Prosecutor Hannah Lee opposed bail, arguing Campbell was likely to reoffend and endanger the safety of other people.
"It's crystal clear that [Monday morning's] conduct poses a significant risk to the community," the prosecutor said.
Mr Cook agreed it was appropriate to refuse bail, describing the early morning pursuit as "a significant motor vehicle chase".
He said Campbell's driving had endangered everyone on the roads, and expressed concerns about her "proclivity to offend while subject to a suspended sentence order".
"I don't know what bail condition I could possibly put in place that would ameliorate the risk that she poses to the community," Mr Cook said.
Campbell is expected to be sentenced on February 16.
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As a journalist, I've covered everything from a royal tour and a terror attack to international sport. After stints in New Zealand, the UK and the Canary Islands, I returned to Australia in 2018. These days, I cover the ACT and Queanbeyan courts.
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