A father who didn’t realise there was a two-year-old boy in the back of the car he was driving during a high speed Garda chase has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Daryl Bolger, 23, had taken 20 tranquiliser tablets when he drove off in the uninsured car while gardai were questioning the driver outside the car.
He was a passenger in the vehicle when gardaí stopped it just before 10am last January. He moved into the driver’s seat and sped off. The court heard the young boy was not properly restrained in the back seat.
The resulting 20-minute high-speed pursuit, which took place in suburban areas around Tallaght, led to children running off the road and motorists swerving out of the way to avoid being struck by Bolger’s car.
Bolger, of Kilcarrig Green, in Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment, five charges of dangerous driving and driving without insurance at Deerpark Avenue, Kiltipper Road, the Tallaght Bypass, the Tallaght Ring Road, Citywest Road and Whitestown Way on January 6, 2015.
Other charges of dangerous driving were taken into account.
His 91 previous convictions include mostly road traffic offences and a jail term for hijacking a car. He also had convictions for stealing cars, burglary and dangerous driving.
Garda Simon Whelan confirmed that Bolger was unlawfully at large from Mountjoy Prison at the time having being allowed out on temporary release to attend for residential drug treatment. He left the centre that day and didn’t return to the prison.
Garda Whelan told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that at one point Bolger drove down a cul-de-sac, performed a handbrake turn and accelerated straight back towards his patrol car.
He said that he had to swerve out of the way to prevent a head-on collision and confirmed that the child was still in the back seat at that time.
The Garda helicopter was called in and took over the monitoring of the pursuit. Those gardaí were then able to inform the other officers that Bolger had pulled up outside his own home.
He was arrested there when he was caught hiding under a bed. The two-year-old was still sitting in the car.
Bolger said in interview that he drove off because he didn’t want gardaí taking the vehicle because it wasn’t taxed or insured.
Sarah-Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, said her client had taken 20 tranquilisers that day and had very little recollection of the pursuit. He said he didn’t know the boy was in the car.
Counsel said that her client’s current partner is pregnant with his first child and he is “excited about the prospects of becoming a new father”.
Bolger told the court that he wanted to apologise to everyone involved and said he couldn’t remember that day.
Judge Martin Nolan said that Bolger’s driving was “incredibly dangerous” and he was “incredibly lucky someone wasn’t killed”.
He sentenced Bolger to three-and-a-half years in jail and disqualified him from driving for five years.
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