Garda praised for role during chase

A motorcycle garda who anticipated a potentially fatal accident and stopped traffic on a junction of the main Cork/Mallow road was seriously injured when struck by a stolen van, and yesterday, he was commended for his outstanding professionalism as the culprit got a 12-year jail term.

John Paul O’Driscoll, aged 27, of no fixed address, originally from Fairhill, was jailed for 12 years and banned from driving for life by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Sergeant Pat Lyons testified yesterday someone could have been killed or injured but for the actions of Garda Michael Twomey, and the fact the dangerous driving escapade across Cork city and county occurred on Good Friday.

Sgt Lyons said it all started the previous night, April 17, when O’Driscoll stole the van at MacCurtain St. By 6.30am the following morning, O’Driscoll — and his passenger Damian Fitzgerald — were seen leaving Vienna Woods hotel with a bin full of assorted alcohol.

By the end of the escapade, the grey bin and a half-consumed bottle of Jack Daniels were found in between where the duo had been sitting in the front of the van.

Sgt Lyons said his injured colleague was now worried about whether he would ever get back to motorcycle duties or even to driving them as his personal pastime.

O’Driscoll had 168 previous convictions. In the present case he pleaded guilty endangerment, dangerous driving and related counts including that at Glencaum, Rathduff, Co Cork, he drove a stolen vehicle at Garda Twomey which resulted in a serious collision which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to another.

Judge Ó Donnabháin imposed a total sentence of 12 years with the last two years of it suspended.

But as the defendant told the judge to “fuck off” when asked to acknowledge the bond in respect of the suspended period, the judge said that period was not suspended.

Damian Fitzgerald, aged 26, of 62 Inniscarra Road, Fairhill, Cork, was given a total sentence of four years.


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