Two charges of endangering life were brought on Thursday against a 35-year-old man accused of ramming garda cars in Cork when his partner and six children were in his van.
Garda Paul Dromey formally arrested the accused man — who was previously charged with other counts arising out of the alleged rampage — and charged him with two counts of endangerment, one of assault his partner and a fourth count of dangerous driving.
Garda Dromey said the accused man, who is in custody since his arrest last September, made no reply to the charges.
Sergeant Gearóid Davis said directions had come through from the Director of Public Prosecutions for trial on indictment by judge and jury or for the accused to enter signed pleas of guilty at Cork District Court and be sent forward for sentencing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Frank Buttimer, solicitor, consulted with the accused on the matter but returned to court to tell Judge Olann Kelleher that the accused needed more time to consider this issue. The case was adjourned until February 9 for that purpose.
The case arises out of an alleged driving rampage on September 28, 2022.
The new charges consist firstly of endangerment on the N40 at South Link Road where he “intentionally or recklessly engaged in conduct, intentionally drove a Ford Transit the wrong way against oncoming traffic and intentionally drove at a garda patrol car, colliding with it in an attempt to evade capture having failed to stop for gardaí when directed to do so, creating a substantial risk of death or serious injury.”
The second endangerment charge relates to City Gate, Mahon, where it is alleged he intentionally drove at gardaí in an attempt to evade capture. Both of these charges are contrary to the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.
On the last date in court a fortnight ago, the judge said he wanted an explanation for why DPP directions are not before the court. Evidence was previously given of allegations that it was a protracted incident involving the ramming of six Garda cars by the driver of a van that was carrying six young children and his partner.
The accused cannot be identified for legal reasons as one of the original charges relates to the alleged breach of a protection order under the Domestic Violence Act during the alleged ‘rampage’ of driving.
Garda Paul Dromey testified previously that after 9pm on Wednesday, September 28, units of An Garda Síochána from Cork city including the Armed Response Unit (ARU) went to Mahon Point and observed this van travelling on the dual carriageway, exiting to Mahon Point shopping centre.
Blue lights and a siren were activated by the ARU but the driver failed to stop. “In the front passenger seat, a woman appeared to be struggling and calling for help holding an infant in her arms. The vehicle rammed the Armed Support Unit car.
“Gardaí tried to extricate the male driver but he rammed the Armed Support Unit again. The van proceeded at speed to the slip road, going the wrong way down the slip road. Two other garda vehicles tried to stop it but the van rammed these two vehicles as well,” Garda Dromey said.
The van was driven towards Ringaskiddy but turned back at Shanbally towards Cork city going the wrong way around a roundabout against oncoming traffic.
It was only with the use of a stinger vehicle-disabling device that that van was eventually stopped at Carr’s Hill, after ramming a total of six garda vehicles during what Garda Dromey described as a rampage.
“Six children – aged between five months and 10 years – with the mother were all extremely traumatised,” Garda Dromey testified. “As a result of this rampage, six garda units were damaged, two members of An Garda Síochána were taken to hospital.”
Original charges against him include false imprisonment of his partner at Carr’s Hill, refusing to provide a specimen under the Road Traffic Act, breach of a protection order by putting his partner in fear that she and the children would be killed. He was also charged with three counts of dangerous driving at N40 South Ring Road, at N28 Shanbally and at Carr’s Hill, Carrigaline, and damaging three patrol cars.