A member of An Garda Síochána had to jump to safety to avoid being knocked down by a drink driver who was ignoring a 40-year driving ban and drove straight at him.
The culprit, Michael Wallace, of 9 Lotamore Drive, Mayfield, Cork, pleaded guilty to endangering the life of the garda and a number of counts of dangerous driving as he sped away from the pursuing garda car.
Judge Olann Kelleher said yesterday: “This is a very serious offence, a guard’s life put in danger.”
Garda Terrence MacSweeney testified at Cork District Court yesterday that he had to jump out of the way when Wallace drove his car at him on February 3, 2014, at Spring Lane, Cork.
Judge Kelleher said that no sooner had Wallace put the guard’s life in danger than he drove off at speed and committed several dangerous driving offences in the surrounding area.
“Garda MacSweeney was out there doing his duty on behalf of the people of Cork. He was working alone. He was working alone and he responded excellently by dealing it in the way that he did,” the judge said.
Wallace, aged 28, was given several concurrent jail sentences making up a total prison term of nine months.
Insp Gary McPolin said Wallace had nine previous convictions for dangerous driving, two for endangerment, six for drink driving, and nine for motoring without insurance and he was disqualified from driving for 40 years at the time of the incident which commenced at Spring Lane in February last year.
Judge Kelleher imposed another 40-year-driving ban from yesterday as Wallace admitted the endangerment, drink driving, having no insurance and the counts of dangerous driving.
Garda MacSweeney said he was operating a garda checkpoint on the evening in question.
“The accused drove directly at me forcing me to jump out of the way, narrowly avoiding being struck,” the guard testified.
He got into the patrol car, put on the blue lights and siren but Wallace ignored him and drove at speeds of up to 100km/h in 50km/h residential zones, forcing oncoming traffic to take evasive action and driving through stop signs at Glenheights Rd, Ballyhooley Rd, and Ballicollie Rd.
When the car stopped Garda MacSweeney saw Wallace climb out of the driver’s seat and into the back with his passengers.
Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said the defendant did plead guilty and had been doing much better in his life since this occurred addressing difficulties he had never faced up to before and settling down with his partner.
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