The stolen Mazda slammed into a truck on the Bruce Hwy near Miriam Vale.
The stolen Mazda slammed into a truck on the Bruce Hwy near Miriam Vale. Ross Irby

Tassie tourist jailed for series of drug fuelled antics

TASMANIAN Matthew Whatley landed himself in Queensland only 24 hours before the ice addict was swept-up in a series of drug fuelled antics between Gladstone and Gympie.

In the aftermath, his brief holiday sojourn landed Whatley, 20, a court ordered not-so luxurious tourist suite in the Capricornia jail.

And Whatley's sister, 17, is getting medical care after suffering serious head and facial injuries in a Bruce Highway car and truck crash south of Miriam Vale.

She was a passenger in a stolen red Mazda 323 whose Gympie driver Tarquin Grott, 21, police accuse of being under the influence of ice before crashing into the rear of a semi trailer at 3.30am on Saturday, March 5.

Whatley got out of the Mazda some hours before the crash to attend Gladstone Hospital because of the adverse effects of potent ice after he admitted injecting 2.5 points.

Staff at a Tannum Sands chemist shop called police earlier saying a skinny, blonde-haired male with acne and skin sores had tried to get treatment to counter the effects of "a hot shot" of ice.

The details of his behaviour was disclosed in Gladstone Magistrates Court after Whatley pleaded guilty to: entering premises/stealing by break a Navman GPS from a ute in Glenwood at 4.30am on March 4; stealing fuel at Gympie; unlawful use of a red Mazda 323 at Tannum Sands; and dangerous driving when adversely affected by an intoxicating substance on Glenlyon Road, Gladstone; and driving unlicensed on March 4.

Lawyer Jun Pepito said Whatley was in Gympie to visit his sister and to visit friends in Rockhampton and been traumatised and very upset by what took place.

In facts put forward by prosecutor Sgt Barry Stevens, Whatley stole the Navman GPs from an unlocked Great Wall ute left unlocked in Glenwood at 4.30am last Friday and been involved when a red Mazda 323 was taken at 5am from a carport where it had been left with its keys inside.

The sound of the car's engine woke its owner who saw its headlights come on as it was driven away.

At 10.30am Whatley drove the Mazda into Caltex at Gympie where a passenger was seen to pump $59 worth of fuel before they drove off without paying.

At 2.40pm the same day Whatley went to the chemist in Tannum Sands where he asked staff to give him something to inject "to clear his system", saying he had been given "a hot shot" (ice).

He had walked in with another young male and staff told police he was agitated, sweating profusely, his skin covered in sores and could not stop scratching himself.

Whatley was told to go to the hospital and get medical treatment.

They watched him drive the Mazda away and police received phone calls just after 3pm about a red car and its driver's dangerous driving.

Police said it was driven in such a way that there was no apparent care for the lives of other road users.

Whatley, more than once drove onto the wrong side of the road toward oncoming traffic, narrowly avoiding a potentially life threatening incident, also overtaking cars at speed.

Police were then called to Gladstone Hospital when he attended Emergency.

He told police Queenslanders are "rude, arrogant and worse than that gave him a hot shot" and he has no intention of ever returning.

Magistrate Jeffrey Clarke sentenced Whatley to nine months jail after pleading guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance.

He also received lesser jail terms for the other offences and disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Whatley will be released on parole from jail on June 6. He is on bail in Tasmania for an armed robbery charge in Launceston.

Grott has been refused bail and is yet to plea on a series of charges.

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