Ballinamuck woman took off at speed as gardaí arrived

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A woman who appeared before Longford District Court last week charged under the Road Traffic Act was disqualified from driving for three years following a hearing into the matter.

Mandy Cassidy, Shanmullagh, Ballinamuck, Co Longford appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with dangerous driving, driving without insurance, drink driving and failing to stop at Lettergunion, Longford on January 2, 2018.

Outlining the evidence to the court, Garda Justin Browne said that on January 2, 2018 he was driving between Ballinamuck and Drumlish when he saw a vehicle parked in at the side of the road.

“The lights were on, so I parked up beside the vehicle and signalled to the defendant that I wanted to talk to her,” Garda Browne continued, before pointing out to the court that Ms Casssidy subsequently took off at speed in the car.

“She continued driving at 100 km/h out past the ‘98 Bar then on to Dillon’s Bar and out to Gaigue Cross where she turned left onto a narrow road and continued driving until she came to the main Arva road.”

The court was then told that the defendant subsequently turned left at that point and began travelling back towards Ballinamuck.

“I followed her and put the beacon lights on, but she attempted to take a right turn, lost control of the car and went into the ditch,” added Garda Browne.

“There was a male in the passenger seat; Ms Cassidy was arrested on suspicion of drink driving at the scene and taken to Longford Garda Station.”

The court was also told that an intoxilyser test indicated a reading of 64 mg/alcohol per 100ml/breath and the defendant held no previous convictions.

In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty said that the car being driven by his client on the night belonged to the male who had been sitting in the passenger seat.

“She had been out earlier in the day, had returned home and then decided to go out again that night,” added Mr Gearty.

“Apart from these terrible events, Mandy has never come to garda notice before.”

Meanwhile Mr Gearty spoke about the night of the incident in more detail.

He said that the defendant had “very regretfully” sped off in the car when Garda Browne approached the vehicle that she was in.

“That take-off wasn’t really her idea,” the solicitor continued, before pointing out to the court that his client held a full driving licence and had a clean record up to this point in time.

“This is a very skillful young woman - she is an All-Ireland set dancing champion and also plays football; she also worked her summers in the USA where her uncle resides.

“She is going to Australia on Thursday and is extremely sorry for what she did.

“While she is insured to drive on a number of other vehicles, unfortunately she was not insured to drive the vehicle Garda Browne saw her in.”

Following his deliberations on the matter, Judge Hughes convicted the defendant on all charges before him.

She was fined €250 for dangerous driving; €250 for drink driving;, €105 for driving without insurance and disqualified from driving for three years.