Drove at speed, avoided checkpoint


Drove at speed, avoided checkpoint
By Court Reporter

A judge who heard how a motorist drove off at speed down narrow country roads, after avoiding an armed garda checkpoint that was being set up, said last week that he cannot see why he should agree to a defence request to accept a guilty plea to careless driving.

Thomas Traynor (43) with an address at Oriel Cove, Clogherhead, was before Dundalk District Court last Wednesday charged with a number of counts of dangerous driving.

The court was asked to decide on an offer by the defence to plead guilty to careless driving, and during an outline of the alleged events, Judge Flann Brennan was told members of the armed Regional Support Unit were in the process of setting up a checkpoint in Clogherhead, when the defendant accelerated hard and took a sharp left to avoid it and it was claimed that an officer on the scene had to take evasive action to avoid being struck.

It was alleged that the accused drove at a speed on country roads with a series of bends - in the Reynoldstown, Cruisetown, Togher and Port areas and a decision was made to abandon the chase due to concerns for the safety of the public.

The defendant did not return to his home and the court heard he had booked into the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dundalk under a different name.

Following his arrest, he made admissions in relation to his driving and said he had panicked at seeing the checkpoint.

The defence solicitor stressed that there was no accident involved.

The court heard while Thomas Traynor has no previous road traffic convictions in this jurisdiction, he has 28 in the North and one for failing to stop for police there.

They date from 1999 to 2004.

Judge Flann Brennan said he would not accept a guilty plea to careless driving, and adjourned the case to Dundalk District Court 27 July for hearing, when Judge William Hamill will be sitting.