Longford District Court
A disqualified Co Longford motorist who attempted to give gardaí the slip by overtaking a car at speed outside a national school has been remanded on bail until next month.
Wayne Figg, with an address at Leitrim Cross, Newtownforbes, Co Longford was charged with a number of road traffic offences including dangerous driving following an incident at Hill Road, Drumlish on November 23 2017.
Inspector Padraig Jones said Garda Aiden Lenehan of Longford Gardaí’s Traffic Corps had been conducting a speed enforcement checkpoint in Drumlish on the afternoon of the incident.
At around 3pm, he said Garda Lenehan detected a car approaching the north Longford town from the Mohill direction at a speed of 79km/hr.
The speed limit on the section of road being observed by Garda Lenehan was 50km/hr, causing the Longford based officer to go off in pursuit of the vehicle.
As the pursuit continued, Inspector Jones said the car in question went along the Hill Road where the local St Mary’s National school stands.
It was there, the Inspector added, that the car overtook another vehicle, narrowly missing “a number of children” who were standing outside.
That manoeuvre caused Garda Lenehan to call for assistance as the car sped off in the direction of Killoe.
A second patrol car soon identified the car and attempted to bring the incident to a halt by occupying the centre of the road with its blue lights activated.
Inspector Jones said the driver, however, failed to stop forcing the patrol car to take “evasive action” and pull in to the left hand side.
He added despite a further attempt to go after the said vehicle, the officer concerned opted to stop his pursuit due to the nature of the driving and potential risk to other road users.
“Gardaí in the area did remain vigilant and a short time later came across two males out walking,” he said.
One of those individuals was identified as being Mr Figg with the car later found in a field overturned.
He said Mr Figg was arrested and brought to Granard Garda Station where he was questioned by detectives.
Mr Figg quickly admitted to the incident and provided a breath specimen.
That examination returned a reading of 11 mgs of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
A demand for Mr Figg’s licence and insurance was also made, he said.
The court was told the Longford man should not have been driving on the date of the incident, having been disqualified for no insurance at a previous court sitting.
In defence, Fiona Baxter said her client was holding his hands up over the matter, qualifying those remarks by underlining the many personal difficulties he has encountered of late.
Handing in a letter from his GP, Ms Baxter said Mr Figg has been suffering from “very serious mental health issues”.
She added he had also been involved in a road traffic accident which had resulted in the tragic death of one of his closest friends.
The inquest, she remarked, had taken place in the days leading up to the incident Mr Figg stands accused of, causing him to turn to alcohol as a “coping mechanism”.
Accompanied by his mother, who Ms Baxter said had been by his side throughout, Judge Lydon was told efforts were being made to try and re-appoint Mr Figg to mental health specialists in the Longford/Westmeath area.
Those attempts have been proving onerous, she continued, with his mother becoming increasingly concerned over his well-being.
“He has become completely withdrawn and she is finding it very difficult to speak to him and getting him out of the bedroom,” she said.
Judge Lydon said she was concerned that Mr Figg’s medical difficulties had yet to be addressed, stressing the “most disturbing” aspect of the case was the nature of Mr Figg’s driving outside a national school where young children had been congregated.
She also turned down an invitation to hear from Mr Figg’s mother, saying she was loathe to observe such testimonies in a “piecemeal fashion”.
The case was adjourned with Mr Figg being remanded on bail until April 20 2018.