A 22-year-old woman who evaded three Garda checkpoints and who led gardaí on a car chase for almost an hour, while she was accompanied by her boss, was before Ballina District Court this week.
Amanda Flynn, Ballymanagh, Ballina, drove through a mandatory alcohol checkpoint, which was on the Killala Road, Ballina on July 3 2010 at 3.10am.
Flynn was pursued by the Garda car, gardai observed that the defendant drove in an erratic manner at speed throughout several townlands and at a junction failed to stop.
After 30 minutes of a pursuit a checkpoint was set up in Ardagh. The defendant almost came to a stop, however she then swerved in front of a patrol car with which she collided. Flynn failed to remain at the scene and drove off again.
On the main Crossmolina road she swerved from side to side and then turned off from the main road and continued to drive through various townlands.
At 3.58am a checkpoint was set up at Rathbal. In order to avoid this, Flynn tried to reverse her car. However gardaí managed to arrest the defendant. Flynn was brought to the Garda station where a blood sample was taken. There were no alcohol or drugs in her system.
The woman, who has no previous convictions, works for an agricultural contractor.
The court heard that on the night in question, her employer Shane McLoughlin called her to ask her for a lift home. Flynn got into her car, however as it was not insured this was the reason she drove through the checkpoint. Her solicitor said that she panicked and “reason went out the window”. The employer declined to make a witness statement nor have anything to do with the case.
The defendant’s father, who was in court, said that this was “completely out of character” for his daughter, who has a strong educational and work background.
Judge Mary Devins said that she was “flabbergasted” at this story, as “your boss was beside you urging you to drive through checkpoints and take part in a wild goose chase” through Mayo. “Did you not care if you killed or injured gardaí, your boss or yourself?” The judge said that the film Bonnie and Clyde sprang to mind.
Judge Devins said it was unusual for the such extreme nature of driving from a young woman who was stone cold sober. The judge adjourned the case for a probation report until March 22, but said to the defendant “I am not guaranteeing that you are not going to prison.”