A man who sped away from gardaí, crashed his car twice and then fled on foot over a ditch has avoided jail after a judge said he wanted to give him a chance to prove he was a law-abiding citizen.
Dylan O'Driscoll (21) of 84 Tawnies Crescent, Clonakilty, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, while uninsured, while disqualified and driving dangerously last August on the coastal road between Courtmacsherry and Timoleague in West Cork.
Sgt Paul Kelly told Clonakilty District Court that on August 1 last at approximately 2.30am the garda on duty in Courtmacsherry observed a Mazda 6 driving through the village at high speed. The garda put on the blue lights and followed the vehicle. The driver increased his speed and made his way toward Timoleague when he crashed the car, the vehicle spinning 360 degrees on the road after impacting with a wall.
The Garda got out of the patrol car but the Mada then took off again, with the garda getting back into the patrol car to follow.
The Mazda then crashed into the ditch and the vehicle flipped over.
The garda then observed the male driver and a female passenger get out of the car and jump over the ditch into fields.
No one else was in the car and the garda discovered open cans of Heineken in the vehicle.
The court heard that Dylan O'Driscoll then returned to the scene and admitted he had been the driver. He was arrested and taken to Bandon Garda Station where his breath sample was of a level as to result in a one-year driving ban for being over the drink-driving limit.
However, since it was his second such conviction it means an automatic two-year driving disqualification.
The court also heard Mr O'Driscoll had been disqualified from driving at the time, having been convicted of a separate road traffic offence in Skibbereen District Court on February 11 last.
He had 11 previous convictions including assault causing harm, for which he received a 10-month suspended sentence in June 2019.
His solicitor, Plunkett Taaffe, said his client had had a history of difficulties in his life and this period was near the anniversary of his father's tragic death and "he went drinking on a bender for some period of time".
Mr Taaffe said Mr O'Driscoll had "panicked" when he was first spotted by gardaí and matters had evolved as described.
But he said his client had been engaging with Foroige and the National Learning Network and was making efforts to address mental health issues while back living with his mother.
The Judge said there was a "confluence of aggravating factors" and that he was considering a five-month sentence on the dangerous driving charges, but he said he was persuaded to give Mr O'Driscoll a chance to prove he could be a law-abiding citizen.
He fined him €100 on one count of dangerous driving and disqualified him from driving for four years but said he would put back all other matters as the court would carry out a monthly review to see if Dylan's progress was being maintained, with the first review due on November 3 next.