A motorist who crashed into a car and a bus and then drove away from the scene blamed the collision on a canister of lawnmower petrol bursting into flames inside in his car.
Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said there was the unusual explanation for the collision and the behaviour of the motorist, Brendan O’Loughlin of Castletreasure, Douglas, Cork.
O’Loughlin, aged 46, pleaded guilty at Cork District Court to several charges arising out of the hit and run accident.
Judge John King said it was the kind of case which merited a custodial sentence particularly in light of previous driving offences but he decided not to jail the motorist.
The judge said he was prepared to take into consideration the fact that the accused man had co-operated with the garda investigation when they identified him and questioned him shortly afterwards.
“If it were not for his co-operation he would be looking at a custodial sentence,” Judge King said.
The judge said he could do 200 hours of community service instead of three months in prison on the charge of driving without insurance.
For careless driving he was fined €300 and he was disqualified from driving for the next four years.
The judge took into consideration the fact that he had no licence and the charge of hit and run and failing to report an occurrence.
Sergeant Ann Marie Twomey outlined the background to the incident which happened around noon on May 21, 2018.
She said there was traffic at Curragh Road and South Douglas Road and that the defendant’s car collided with a bus and car that were stopped in traffic and that he then drove away from the scene.
Sgt Twomey said that his previous convictions included two counts of driving without insurance and two for drink driving in the past.
Mr Buttimer, solicitor, said there was an unusual explanation for what happened.
He said the defendant had a canister of petrol in his car for his lawnmower at home and that this canister was closed but that it opened.
“It spontaneously combusted. There is a fire or a conflagration in the car. That diverts his attention. He collides with two vehicles.
“He flees in panic for two reasons: A, his car is on fire. B, he was now going to attract the attention of gardaí. So he panicked and fled.
The gardaí were easily able to identify he was the owner of the car. One of the people at the scene saw it,” Mr Buttimer said.