A Dublin youth drove sideways around a bend and sped over a pedestrian area before colliding head on with a patrol car during a high-speed pursuit, a court has heard, writes Tom Tuite.
The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, pleaded guilty to criminal damage and multiple counts of dangerous driving in connection with the 25-minute chase in north Dublin on the night of Jan. 17 last.
As he adjourned sentencing at the Dublin Children’s Court, Judge John O’Connor told the youth he was lucky no-one was killed and he did not end up on trial for manslaughter.
At one point the youth drove sideways as he took a sharp turn at speed, the court heard.
Garda Cormac McGill told the hearing that two gardai from Ballymun detective unit had been travelling in-bound on the N2 at Finglas and came to a roundabout on St Margaret’s Road. A Fiat Punto driven by the boy came through the roundabout from the left and failed to yield causing the gardai to brake suddenly.
The teen drove on to Barry Avenue while pursued by the garda car which had activated lights and sirens. He failed to stop and sped off before driving over small roundabouts.
The court heard the boy drove at excessive speeds in residential areas and reached Plunkett Road, Finglas, and made his way back on to St Margaret’s Road, “full circle to where it began”.
He continued speeding while other road users had to pull in out of his way as he drove in the centre of the road while overtaking. At Melville Road he drove into a right turn causing the car to turn sideways and he nearly lost control of the vehicle.
He then overtook a Dublin Bus as it was pulling out before he drove on past Poppentree Park at speeds in excess of 100 kph and drove on the wrong way on a roundabout on Balbutcher Lane.
He then turned into the Belclare View residential area and sped over speed ramps “and overtook a car blindly causing on coming cars to brake suddenly and come on to the footpath”.
He drove to Balbutcher Lane and mounted a green and drove in the direction of Sillogue Crescent, a pedestrian area. “A man had to be pick up his dog and run out of the way to avoid being hit,” the Garda said.
The court heard the youth, who had no driving licence or insurance, “squeezed through a gap” which brought him to Sillogue Park where he sped over speed ramps before turning left on to Sillogue Way.
Gda McGill said his patrol car was coming in the opposite direction and the teenager collided with the front of his car. He got out and arrested the youth and contacted his carers.
Some €4,500 worth of damages were caused to the patrol car.
Gda McGill agreed with defence solicitor Michelle Finan that the youth was co-operative when arrested.
His prior criminal convictions included trespassing on a building, and driving without a licence or insurance and he was given a two year road-ban in March.
The teenager was accompanied to court by a care worker.
His solicitor told the court the teenager’s parents had serious health issues and at a young age he had acted as a carer for them. He has difficulties with self-regulation but one of his outlets was driving, she said.
On the day in question he had been with a friend who was intoxicated and asked him to drive. When they saw the first garda car his friend told him “I have something on me, we can’t stop” and the boy drove on and “everything went out of control”, the solicitor said.
His care workers speak highly of him, Ms Finan said.
Judge O’Connor said the boy showed no regard for human life.
Sentencing was adjourned for a probation report on the youth to be obtained.