A 19-year-old Meath man was jailed for four months for what a Judge described a “horrendous” dangerous driving.
James Hamilton, an agricultural labourer of Cloghan, Ardcath, “panicked when he realised he was not insured” and tried to flee from Gardai in Ardee. The chase ended when he crashed his vehicle, Ardee District Court heard.
Judge Eirinn McKiernan remarked it was “so lucky nobody was killed” singling out the most serious aspect of his attempt to get away from Gardai was when trucks had to move out of his way not long after a Garda sought to speak to him in the town.
She imposed the jail sentence in respect of that count and a four year driving ban.She said the fact alone he wasn’t insured the defendant had to be disqualified, and imposed a four year ban on him and a fine of €300 in respect of that offence.
She fixed bail to enable the defendant to appeal.
The defendant faced 11 separate counts of dangerous driving relating to the events of September 21 last year and tendered pleas to four of the charges and to also not being insured.
He also admitted a separate offence of making off without paying for €87 worth of diesel at the Applegreen Service Station, Castlebellingham on March 25 last year.
Garda Carroll recalling the dangerous driving escapade said he noticed the headlights were faulty on the car the defendant was driving. The defendant took off on Main Street and turned into Sean O’Carroll Street and mounted a footpath.
He drove onto Richardstown Road works were being carried out and traffic was down to a single line. Lorries in front had to get out of the defendant’s way to avoid a collision.
The Garda said he lost sight of the defendant for five or ten minutes, but picked the car up in Castlebellingham, and pursued him again.
He stopped the pursuit which was taken up by colleagues and headed in the Annagassan and Grangebellew direction. The defendant narrowly missed a vehicle before he crashed shortly after.
The defendant admitted he had no insurance when he demanded documents from him. The Garda said the defendant had received previously a two year driving disqualification.
Seamus Roe, solicitor, said the defendant was in bad company at the time, but since had returned to live with his parents.
He asked the Judge to take into consideration the defendant’s early guilty plea, his young age and his early statement to the Gardai.
Mr Roe said he understood the defendant hadn’t come to attention since the incident. The defendant was anxious to get his life back on track and put this behind him.
Judge McKiernan took the other counts into consideration.