Alleged driver Bryce O’Donnell charged for evading police


Police have charged the driver allegedly behind the wheel of a runaway car that tore down Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall and terrified pedestrians last week.

Bryce O’Donnell was arrested at an address in Ballarat just before 4pm on Thursday.

The 20-year-old appeared briefly in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday facing 11 charges including reckless conduct endangering life.

The court heard he had recently started taking medication for depression.

He did not make an application for bail.

His arrest came just hours after police issued a warrant for Mr O’Donnell over the incident in the CBD on January 28.

Mr O’Donnell was questioned by Melbourne crime investigation unit detectives late into the night before he was charged with 11 serious offences.

Police allege Mr O’Donnell was the driver of the green Mitsubishi Lancer that evaded public order response team officers on Swanston Street and drove into the mall.

The incident, which occurred during the afternoon rush about 4.55pm, sent shoppers and pedestrians running for cover.

The Lancer was then blocked by two trams travelling along Bourke Street and a police car near Elizabeth Street where a passenger got out and ran away.

But after ramming into the bollards outside Myer, the car was able to do a U-turn and head back up the mall towards Swanston Street and away from police.

Police lost sight of the car and the driver was able to get away.

The car was spotted driving through Southbank and heading towards St Kilda before it was found by a member of the public in an underground carpark on Ashworth Street in Albert Park about 6.40pm without number plates.

Mr O’Donnell has also been charged with reckless conduct endangering serious injury, reckless exposure of a police officer to risk by driving, fail to stop on police request, contravene a conduct condition of bail, commit indictable offence while on bail, drive in a manner dangerous, drive while disqualified, careless driving, dangerous driving while being pursued by police and drive vehicle causing loss of traction.

Mr O’Donnell, of Ballarat, was remanded overnight to face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Police said they were not looking for anyone else as part of their investigation into the incident.

They said the passenger was arrested separately and is assisting detectives with their investigation.

O’Donnell will next appear in court on February 23.

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