Drink-driver police officer sacked after fleeing scene of crash that injured 9yo girl

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An off-duty police officer who hid in bushes after causing a drunken crash that injured a nine-year-old girl has been sacked from the force, the Perth Magistrates Court has heard.

Lachlan Thomas Perhavec, 27, was working as a Detective Constable in the Serious and Organised Crime Division of the WA Police Force when in August last year he went through a red light and drove 20 kilometres above the speed limit into a roundabout near Perth airport.

He drifted from the right-hand lane into the left lane and crashed into a van, causing a chain of crashes involving two other cars, and a total of 16 people.

The young girl was asleep in the van and the court heard she suffered a partially fractured vertebrae which still causes her pain, although she is expected to eventually make a full recovery.

Prosecutor Nick John said Perhavec left the scene after the crash, only to return twice to remove property from his car and take photographs of the damage.

He then fled again, and was found by police in bushes one hour and 45 minutes later.

‘Cowardly decision’ to leave scene: Prosecutor

Mr John said Perhavec’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was estimated to be 0.073 per cent.

Perhavec pleaded guilty to a string of charges including dangerous driving occasioning bodily harm, failing to stop and report an accident and driving in excess of 0.05 per cent.

Mr John urged the magistrate to consider imposing a term of imprisonment, saying Perhavec was solely responsible for the crash which he must have known could have caused serious injury, and he had then made a “cowardly decision” to leave the scene.

However Mr John said it was a question for the magistrate whether the jail sentence could be suspended.

Parents describe ‘good man who made a mistake’

Perhavec’s lawyer, Mark Andrews, said his client’s conduct was “out of character” describing the incident as “just a very bad day and night” for him and an “aberration”.

He said Perhavec was genuinely remorseful and was described by his parents as “a good man who made a mistake”.

Mr Andrews said Perhavec had a record of serving the community in his professional and recreational life, that included service as a rifleman in the army and as a life guard.

The court heard he was a police officer for nine years, but he had been dismissed as a result of the crash.

“The consequences have been devastating for him. He has suffered a significant degree of shame and humiliation,” Mr Andrews said.

Perhavec was released on bail until his sentencing tomorrow afternoon.

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