A man who rammed a garda patrol car twice during a pursuit through Dundalk, including a chase through two local housing estates, was last week given a four year suspended sentence and was banned from driving for 10 years at Dundalk Circuit Court, which was sitting in Drogheda.
Following his arrest, Kasparas Vaivada (21) with an address at Greenacres, Dundalk told gardai that he had been drinking in the Spirit Store and had panicked on seeing the patrol car on September first 2019.
Gardai were on mobile patrol when they saw the black Opel Vectra the defendant was driving weaving across Inner Relief Road in Dundalk, crossing the continuous white line at the Coes Road junction.
As it approached the Avenue Road roundabout, he pulled into the centre lane without indicating, but stopped for a red light and all four occupants avoided eye-contact with the gardai.
He pulled onto the Avenue Road and when the blue lights and siren were activated, he accelerated and without stopping pulled into Greenacres, driving at high speed through the estate and part of Oaklawns before pulling back onto the Avenue Road and turning onto St. Alphonsus Road, where a second patrol car joined the pursuit.
The accused drove the wrong way around the roundabout on the road and pulled back onto Coe's Road where he took a right turn on the wrong side of the road and drove onto the Inner Relief Road without stopping or checking for oncoming traffic.
The first ramming occurred on Coe’s Road, and the second on the Point Road, where the defendant came to a stop, with the Vectra wedged between the kerb and the patrol car, which was written off because of its high mileage.
The now 21-year-old had both drink and drugs in his system and was ‘frozen’ and gripping the steering wheel when a garda approached him at the scene.
The Defence barrister said his client denied intentionally driving into the patrol car but accepted his actions created a substantial risk to others. He said he felt guilty for causing the damage and told gardai he had flashbacks to one of his passengers touching the wheel a few times.
The accused had no previous convictions at the time, but had since admitted causing criminal damage to the wing mirrors of 23 cars in a drunken rage, for which he received a suspended six-month sentence.
The Defence barrister said his client, who had no driving licence or insurance, was the least drunk of the four on the night and had volunteered to drive.
Judge Patrick Quinn, saying there’s a possibility of the defendant as a young man changing his life, imposed sentences totaling four years which he suspended in full, and a 10 year driving ban.
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