Tourist 'jumped up on the bonnet of the car to avoid being crushed' as car accelerated into wall of Cork pub

Tourist 'jumped up on the bonnet of the car to avoid being crushed' as car accelerated into wall of Cork pub

An Australian tourist had to jump on the bonnet of a car as it accelerated into the wall of a pub, knocking debris over another tourist seated inside.

Bandon District Court heard that a retired architect, who lives just 100 yards from the bar, had been trying to move his vehicle while he was over the drink-drive limit, hitting two cars and then mistaking the accelerator for the brake, sending the car into the wall of the pub.

Joe Shannon, 73, pleaded guilty to charges of drink-driving and dangerous driving arising out of the incident on September 1 last in Kinsale in Co Cork.

Judge James McNulty was told by Garda Cormac Dineen that at 6.05pm that day they were made aware of a road traffic collision at the Spaniard Bar at Scilly on the outskirts of the town.

On arrival at the scene they found that a Mercedes Benz had been in collision with the outer wall of the pub. An off-duty garda was standing at the driver's door, and Mr Shannon, of Palace Wharf, Scilly, was seated inside, with his wife in the passenger seat.

Garda Dineen said he got a smell of intoxicating liquor from Mr Shannon and arrested him on suspicion of drink-driving. Later at Bandon Garda Station a test showed a reading of 75mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath - a level that results in a three-year driving ban.

Garda Dineen said Mr Shannon had been drinking in the Spaniard and his car was parked outside. He had to reverse it out and in doing so he struck a rental car belonging to the Australian tourist, who was due to return home the next day.

Garda Dineen said the tourist had been standing outside the pub and saw what happened and walked out onto the road to bring it to Mr Shannon's attention.

'Evasive action'

At that point the car moved forward and struck a second car. According to Garda Dineen, when the car was out on the road it then accelerated rapidly towards the pub. The Australian man was on the road and had to take "evasive action by jumping up on the bonnet of the car to avoid being crushed".

The car then collided into picnic tables and in the incident the Australian tourist received a laceration to his right forearm that required 28 staples.

The court heard another tourist, a woman from Dublin, injured her left leg when debris from the wall of the pub fell onto her as she sat inside. She, like the Australian man, was treated at the scene. The judge was told Mr Shannon's wife also got a cut lip in the incident.

Mr Shannon's solicitor, Virgil Horgan, said his client lived very close to the pub and would normally have walked home but that his vehicle had been parked in someone else's spot and he had been asked to move it.

"He took a chance in moving it and he shouldn't have," Mr Horgan said, adding that Mr Shannon had hit the accelerator instead of the brake, causing the main impact. "The one time he did sit behind the wheel and the consequences followed from it," he said.

The court heard that Mr Shannon, who had two previous convictions, apologised for what had occurred and that his insurance was addressing various aspects of what had happened.

Judge McNulty convicted him on both charges, fining him €1,000 for dangerous driving and another €500 for drink driving, alongside two three-year driving disqualifications.

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