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NSW: Learner driver facing long list of offences

30 Jan 2009 5:42 PM

SYDNEY, Jan 30 AAP - A learner driver trying to avoid a random breath test led officers on a chase through Sydney that ended when his car caught fire and he crashed into a wall, police say.

Police allege the 23-year-old Granville man was on bail when he failed to stop for a random breath test on Good Street, Westmead about 11.20pm (AEDT) on Thursday.

After a brief pursuit, police say the car hit a gutter, before the driver reversed into the patrol car and drove off again.

Police said they followed him through several streets, including Sorrell Street in Parramatta, where they noticed his vehicle was on fire.

The man is then alleged to have driven inside an underground car park, where he hit a brick wall.

He ran away, police said.

Firefighters were called to the scene, and the entire apartment block was evacuated.

No one from the apartment block was injured, but a police officer who attempted to extinguish the fire was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

Police arrested a man a short time later and have since laid 13 charges against him, including reckless driving, failing to display L-plates, driving unaccompanied and proceeding through a red light.

He is also charged with breaching bail, and was remanded in custody to face Fairfield Local Court.