Grafton Court House
Grafton Court House Caitlan Charles

Joyride ends in jail time

A FORMER Yamba man's night of joyriding, which ended with him abandoning a car after it crashed into a tree in a Yamba park, has landed him behind bars.

Eric Ugle, 22, faced Grafton Local Court by video link on Monday after he pleaded guilty to charges of property damage and a series of driving offences, including driving recklessly and driving while disqualified.

When he was arrested in March, Ugle was on parole for a similar offence from November.

According to police facts tendered to court, on the night of March 8 he borrowed a car from a family member and with two other passengers drove to Brooms Head. The group stayed at a friend's place before heading back to Yamba. On their way home, Ugle drove to Hakea Park and onto the grass where he started doing circles on the grass, causing damage to the sports field.

Ugle then drove straight into a large tree in the park, damaging the front of the vehicle so severely it could not be driven. The three then fled the scene, with Ugle using a friend to message the owner of the vehicle: "I crashed your car and I'm so sorry if the police ring say someone stole it".

In court, Ugle's defence solicitor said his client had a troubled childhood, and was exposed to substance abuse and violence from a young age, which led to him drinking from the age of 14 and abusing drugs from the age of 16 as a way of self-medicating his depression and coping with the break-up of his family.

He also told the court his substance abuse was a way to cope with the traumatic events surrounding the death of his aunt Lynette Daley.

Magistrate Karen Stafford said given Ugle was on parole for similar offences, she had no choice but to impose a custodial sentence.

Ugle was sentenced to 15 months in jail, with a non-parole period of six months, and disqualified from driving for three years.