‘Wild escapade’ of dangerous driving risked up to 20 lives

Numerous people could have been killed on country roads by a wild escapade of dangerous driving and it is positively miraculous that the two young Limerick men in the stolen jeep were not killed, Judge Gerard O’Brien said as he jailed the driver for four years and the passenger for three years.

Limerick man Martin Treacy, aged 27, drove a 78-year-old man’s jeep directly at him in his farmyard, blowing him into a ditch, and then went on a driving escapade which could have killed up to 20 people on the roads.

“This is incredibly serious. Twenty people could have been killed. They embarked on a chain of destruction. (It was fortunate) nobody was killed and neither offending person was killed which was miraculous,” Judge Gerard O’Brien said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Garda Philip Hayes of Buttevant Garda Station said Martin Treacy and another man, Alex Kelly, were in a car that broke down near a farmyard.

The first endangerment charge against Treacy stated that he did on October 18, 2017 at Banogue, Croom, Co Limerick, intentionally or recklessly create a substantial risk of death or serious injury to John McCarthy by driving a car from inside the yard of Mr McCarthy’s residence through closed gates onto a public road thereby knocking down Mr McCarthy who was visibly standing behind the gates.

Garda Hayes said the 78-year-old, who was living alone in the farmhouse, saw the two young men get into his jeep which had the keys in it and appeared to be struggling with the driving of what was an automatic vehicle.

The two men in his jeep travelled at speed through Buttevant colliding with two cars in the area and on to Newtwopothouse where gardaí set up a checkpoint. Treacy swerved and drove back in the opposite direction from the checkpoint, colliding with four more cars as he did so.

That gave rise to the second endangerment charge which stated that at Ballybeg, Buttevant, by dangerously overtaking several vehicles, driving into the path of four oncoming vehicles and colliding with four cars he created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to the occupants.

The jeep crashed and the driver and passenger ran away. Garda Hayes said another garda broke his ankle running after them. Treacy, aged 25, with an address at St Lawrence’s Road, Garryowen, Limerick, was represented by barrister, Laurence Goucher, who said the young man pleaded guilty and co-operated with the investigation.

Judge O’Brien yesterday imposed a jail term of five years on Treacy with the last year of that suspended.

Co-accused, Alex Kelly, of 243 Valley View, O’Malley Park, Limerick, admitted allowing himself to be carried in a stolen vehicle. He was represented by Alan O’Dwyer, who said Kelly, who is also in his mid-20s, co-operated with the investigation. Judge O’Brien imposed four years on him with the last year suspended.

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