Man who overtook eight cars at 150kph avoids jail sentence

A man who overtook more than eight cars at speeds of up to 150kph has avoided jail. 

Frank Crowley faced two charges of dangerous driving on February 28 last year. An off-duty garda said he spotted Mr Crowley of Ashfield, Skeaf East, Timoleague in Co Cork speeding at Madame in Ballinascarty and at Cashel Mor, Bandon.

Garda Cormac Dineen said he saw the modified black BMW being driven by Mr Crowley overtaking eight to 10 vehicles at speed and that at one point he had to take evasive action. He had also suggested that the defendant was driving at 120kph to 150kph on the N71 national primary road at 7pm on a Sunday on a winter night.

In Bandon District Court Judge James McNulty referred to the garda’s comment that the episode was “among, if not the worst, pieces of driving he had ever seen in 15 years in An Garda Siochána”. Mr Crowley, 22, works in construction and the court heard his father works in haulage and his mother is a nurse.

He wishes to emulate his father and drive a lorry and Judge McNulty noted a driving disqualification would be “catastrophic” for the defendant. At an earlier court sitting he had instructed Mr Crowley to watch RTÉ documentary Crash and the court heard he did so alongside his parents. Mr Crowley’s solicitor, Eamonn Fleming, said: “He saw the video. He was frightened by it.”

Mr Crowley said: “It shows what can happen on Irish roads. It can ruin your life.” The judge noted many mitigating factors such as Mr Crowley’s youth, his work ethic and the support of his parents. He quoted a lyric from songwriter Eddi Reader: “Young hearts are foolish, they make such mistakes.” “It was an error of judgement,” the judge said, adding that thankfully nobody had lost their lives.

He convicted Mr Crowley on two lesser charges of careless driving, fined him €1,000 and also directed he enter a three-year probation bond at a sum of another €1,000 and with a special condition that he comply with the provisions of the Road Traffic Act.

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