07 Aug 2022

'A miracle no one had been killed' - Judge hands down suspended sentence to Midlands motorist

'A miracle no one had been killed' - Judge hands down suspended sentence to Midlands motorist

'A miracle no one had been killed' - Judge hands down suspended sentence to Midlands motorist

In what Judge Catherine Staines described as the worst dangerous driving case she had heard in her time, a court heard recently that a man drove 50kms in the space of 25-minutes.  

Paddy Wilson, 18, of 63 Auburn Heights, Athlone was charged with dangerous driving at the R420 Geashill on October 3, 2021 and no insurance, dangerous driving and driving while intoxicated at Bracklone Street, Portarlington on the same date. 

Garda Fenlon told the court that on October 3, 2021 during a speed check at the M7 Cappakeel she observed a car heading on the M7 towards Dublin. She followed the car and indicated to it to pull over. 

It entered the overtaking lane and continued at a speed of 169kph. 

At Junction 14 it exited the motorway and continued to overtake cars. 

It went through Monasterevin at high speed and continued onto back roads. 

At Bracklone Street, Portarlington Garda Fenlon informed control that she was standing down. The car was driving on the wrong side of the road and was driving at a speed of 130kph in 100 and 80 zones. 

At Cloneygowan it drove at 100kph. 

At Geashill on the R402 it overtook a jeep and trailer, went through a pedestrian crossing and drove up on a footpath. 

A garda cordon was set up at Clonminch in Tullamore.

The car travelled 50kms in 25-minutes, Garda Fenlon told the court.  

The driver was arrested for dangerous driving. He was extremely excited and seemed to be intoxicated. He was impressed with his driving skills. 

His girlfriend was in the car and she was very traumatised and distressed. 

A urine sample analysis later showed he had cocaine in his system. 

He had neither insurance or a driving licence.

Defence solicitor, Josephine Fitzpatrick said it was extremely serious. Mr Wilson had no previous convictions. He was extremely naive. The passenger was his fiance. 

He had acquired the Golf car and had no driving licence or insurance. 

He was aware the Gardaí had spotted him and he had panicked. This resulted in this dreadful driving. He did cooperate later, Ms Fitzpatrick said. 

Judge Staines said that it was the worst dangerous driving case she had witnessed in 12 years in Portlaoise district court. 

She noted that Mr Wilson had taken cocaine which made people feel omnipotent. 

It was a miracle no one had been killed. She said it merited a prison sentence. 

However, he had pleaded guilty and had no previous convictions. 

She imposed a six month prison sentence, suspended for one year and disqualified him for four years. For no insurance he was disqualified for two years. 

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