A young drug addict who stole an Uber driver’s car, threatened to kill him and then crashed the Toyota Kluger into oncoming traffic on the Sydney Harbor Bridge, bringing the city to a standstill in the process, has avoided prison.
In the New South Wales District Court on Monday, Christopher Walker, 21, learned he would not be jailed for the fire that nearly cost him his life and left a man in hospital for more than a month .
He had pleaded guilty to assault with intent to seize a motor vehicle and dangerous driving occasioning actual bodily harm.
The court heard that Walker, who was 19 at the time, had taken ice on the morning of March 7, 2022, before approaching Uber driver Aetaz Farooq, who was fixing a flat tire on Sussex St in the CBD from the city.
“You’ve got a nice car, buddy,” Walker told him before jumping into the driver’s seat.
Christopher Walker (pictured) was spared jail after causing a fiery accident on Sydney Harbor Bridge in 2022.
The court was told Walker asked Farooq to start the car, before snatching the keys from him in a struggle and pushing the Uber driver to the ground.
“Get away from the car or I’ll kill you,” he said, according to court documents, before speeding away.
Moments later, Walker sped towards the Sydney Harbor Bridge before his car slammed into oncoming traffic and collided with a Toyota HiAce van driven by Andrew Cheng.
Another car, a blue Honda CRV, tried to brake suddenly but slammed into the passenger side of the truck in a three-car pileup.
The force of the crash overturned the stolen Toyota Kluger, which immediately caught fire, trapping Walker face down, the court was told.
Court documents revealed that nearby motorists managed to free Walker and pull him out the window, having to move his body out of reach of the flames.
The stolen vehicle burst into flames (pictured) after the SUV overturned after hitting an oncoming van.
Walker drove the SUV into oncoming traffic on the Sydney Harbor Bridge (pictured), causing a multi-car crash that left one motorist suffering several injuries.
The court heard Mr Cheng suffered numerous injuries, had to undergo three surgeries and remained in hospital for a month.
Judge Justin Smith told the court he found Walker to be genuine and honest when he took the witness stand and previously told the court he felt “horrible”.
Walker, who suffered a collapsed lung, spent six months in custody before being released to a rehabilitation facility.
Judge Smith sentenced Walker to a total prison term of two years and nine months, to be served in the community under an Intensive Corrections Order.