Man sped off from accident as gardaí pursued

An 18-year-old man who sped off from a traffic accident in a car which subsequently caught fire was before Ballina District Court on Tuesday for dangerous driving and for failing to stop.

On November 10 gardaí were called to a single vehicle traffic accident at Ballygowen, Kilalla, after reports were made that a car was on its roof in a ditch.

When Sergeant James Murphy arrived at the scene, the car had been moved to the middle of the road, and there was smoke coming from it. Oisin Kearney, Kincon, Ballina, revved the engine and sped off in the car.

Gardaí activated the patrol car’s lights and siren and followed Kearney, however the defendant failed to stop.

Kearney drove at speed, often on the wrong side of the road, and even went around a bridge on the wrong side of the road. Sgt Murphy said that the front right wheel of the car was running sideways. After driving for 10 to 12 kilometres, Kearney stopped and abandoned the car in Kincon. The front wheel was on fire.

On January 16 2011 at 12.50am, Garda Martin McNicholas observed a car being driven in Ballina by Kearney. The car almost hit parking bollards. The lights and siren of the Garda car were activated, however the defendant failed to stop.

Kearney was observed to pass through a junction at Dillon Terrace/Castle Road without yielding and he continued to drive at high speed. The Garda car managed to pull alongside the car and signalled for it to stop, however Kearney put his foot down.

At the junction of the Belleek/Killala road the defendant did not yield or indicate as he drove through it. The Garda car managed to pull alongside the car and again signalled for it to stop, however Kearney again put his foot down.

John Gordon, solicitor for Kearney, said that the defendant had insurance and driving licence and that his conduct was hard to explain. The defendant has six previous road traffic convictions.

Judge Mary Devins asked that the defendant give a sworn undertaking to comply with the terms and conditions of the Probation Service.

For dangerous driving in November he was convicted and fined €200 and disqualified from driving for two years. Kearney was also remanded on continuing bail to June 28 for a Probation Report. The State was given liberty to re-enter. For failing to stop on the same date he was convicted and fined €200 and disqualified from driving for three years concurrent.

For dangerous driving in January, Kearney was convicted and fined €200 and disqualified from driving for four years concurrent. For failing to stop he was convicted and fined €200 and disqualified from driving for five years concurrent. The judge said that any further sanctions will be considered after she receives the Probation Report.

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