A YOUNG couple have been arrested after shots were allegedly fired at police during a six-hour manhunt in the state’s Central Highlands yesterday.
Police deployed a helicopter and about 30 vehicles, including the Special Operations Group’s armoured Bearcat, to track down the couple after they avoided an attempt by officers to immobilise their stolen car with road spikes.
Incredibly, a photo of the brazen couple who were named last night as Cameron James Brasher, 25, and Tereza Anne Loone, 26, above, appeared on a Facebook page while the pursuit was happening.
The drama started about midnight on Monday at Arthurs Lake when police officers spotted the pair asleep in a rented car that had been reported stolen from Launceston last week.
Detective Inspector Scott Flude said it was believed the couple had been involved in minor crimes, including burglary on the East Coast, in Hobart and in the Central Highlands over several days.
During the night police laid road spikes and about 5am yesterday police sounded sirens near the stolen car.
The startled couple drove off but struck road spikes on both right-hand wheels of the stolen 2012 Ford XR6 sedan.
Det-Insp Flude said the fugitive vehicle travelled at speeds of up to 70km/h for nearly 25km despite the flat tyres, which shredded completely and left just mag wheels in contact with the road.
They were pursued by several police cars but Det-Insp Flude said the early hour meant there was little danger because the road was clear.
As the fugitive couple’s car started the descent down the face of the Great Western Tiers, the driver lost control on a sharp right-hand bend and the rear of the car struck a rocky bank.
When police approached in a Toyota Landcruiser Prado, a man allegedly fired a shotgun, smashing the side window and causing shotgun pellet marks on a second police vehicle.
The Prado police vehicle reversed rapidly back up the road towards Arthurs Lake.
The man walked around the hairpin bend and allegedly fired a further two shots in the direction of police.
“There was no conversation during the time the police cars pulled up. Shots were fired at them,’’ Det-Insp Flude said.
Police fired no shots during the incident.
The couple, one of whom had no shoes, then fled, dropping the shotgun and sunglasses on the road before jumping into the bush.
Det-Insp Flude said police cordoned off the area with roadblocks at Saundridge Rd, near Cressy, and Poatina Rd.
The nearby community of Poatina was put in lockdown, with residents warned not to leave their homes.
After a further four-and-a-half hour search by police, both in the helicopter and on the ground, the couple were confronted by four members of the Special Operations Group and arrested about 11.30am, just 200m from their crashed vehicle.
Police interviewed the couple, from the Launceston suburb of Ravenswood, yesterday afternoon.
Poatina Rd was closed for several hours while investigators collected forensic evidence and took measurements around the scene of the couple’s arrest.
Police said they expected the couple to appear on assault and firearm offences in the Launceston Magistrates’ Court at 11.30am today.