A drug-addicted young man who brought Sydney to a standstill when he slammed a stolen car into oncoming traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge has told a court he blacked out and has no memory of the fiery crash.
Christopher Walker, 21, at times became tearful on Friday as he told a court he was “ashamed” and felt like a “horrible person” for the horror accident which nearly claimed his life and hospitalised two victims.
Walker has pleaded guilty to a string of charges, admitting he was affected by methamphetamine when he veered into the wrong lane and slammed into a Toytoa HiAce van being driven by Andrew Cheng on the morning of March 7 last year.
Confronting dashcam footage, played to the court on Friday, showed the moment his car careened into the southbound lane, causing the crash and flipping the stolen Toyota Kluger which immediately set fire.
Another car, a blue Honda CRV attempted to brake suddenly but slammed into the passenger side of the van in a three-car pileup.
Just minutes earlier, Walker stole the Kluger from an off-duty Uber driver, Aetaz Farooq, who had stopped on Sussex St in the Sydney CBD to change a punctured tyre.
According court documents, Walker climbed into the front seat, took the keys during a struggle and told Mr Farooq “get the f*** away from the car or I’ll kill you” before he sped off.
Walker took the witness stand during a sentence hearing before Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Friday morning.
He told the court he had no memory of stealing the car, threatening Mr Farooq or the ensuing crash, saying he “blacked out”.
“The last memory I have is walking through the city,” he said.
However he said he took responsibility for his actions.
Mr Cheng suffered numerous injuries, including a compound fracture in his right forearm, and had to undergo three surgeries and was kept in hospital for a month.
Walker suffered a collapsed lung and was placed in an induced coma.
The woman in the other car suffered abrasions and reported chest pains before being taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Walker had to be pulled from the wreckage, through the window of the stolen car, by good Samaritans.
According to a statement of agreed facts, Walker was combative towards the motorists who came to his aid, as well as the paramedics who had to sedate him.
A blood test found he had methylamphetamine in his system, as well as Pregabalin, an antiepileptic medication.
In court on Friday he admitted he took ice in the hours before the crash.
Asked if he had taken drugs since he said: “That would be the most selfish thing I could do.”
He at times became tearful as he gave evidence on Friday.
The court heard that his partner, who he had been with for five months, was 14 weeks pregnant and they were expecting a baby next year.
He told the court that when his child was old enough, he planned to tell them about the incident and wanted to teach them about the dangers of doing drugs.
“I hope I can teach them to be a good person,” Walker said.
He told the court that he had a job in manufacturing and wanted to work in rehabilitation and counselling to help young people affected by alcohol and drug addiction as he continued to turn his life around.
“It made me feel like a horrible person,” he said of the incident.
He also said he felt remorse for Mr Cheng’s injuries and the hardship he had caused, saying he felt like he had “robbed him of having a life”.
Walker spent six months in custody before being released on bail to attend a rehabilitation centre.
But he is now facing the prospect of returning to jail when he is sentenced next year.
Walker earlier this year entered guilty pleas to four charges - assault with intent to take motor vehicle, dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, driving a vehicle with an illicit drug present in blood and driving furiously to cause bodily harm.
His solicitor Ivan Vizintin told the court Walker was “genuinely remorseful”.
“He has undertaken significant steps to transform from the man he was on the day of the offence to the young man is today,” Mr Vizintin said.
Walker will return to court in February next year.