Garda chase to stop care worker

'Irrational' 41-one-year sped away from checkpoint and crashed

Garda chase to stop care worker

A care worker driving without tax on her vehicle reacted “in a crazy fashion” and sped away from a garda checkpoint, leading gardaí on a chase across Laois reaching speeds of 160km/h before she mounted a footpath and crashed into a wall.

Arising from the incident, Abimbola Ogunmodimu (41), 6 Maryborough Crescent, Portlaoise, was last week charged with two counts of dangerous driving, on April 27 this year.

Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that the accused turned back from a garda checkpoint on that date and was followed by the gardaí. She took off at high speed and was overtaking and undertaking traffic, said the inspector, travelling from Portlaoise to Monasterevin.

At one stage, the garda car had to travel at 160km/h to keep up with the accused, and she drove at a speed of 140km/h in a 50km/h zone through a townland area.

The accused’s car then skidded on a bend and veered across the road, before it mounted the footpath and crashed into a wall.

Insp Farrelly said the accused had no tax on her car, which was why she had taken off from the gardaí.

Defence, Ms Anne Manning admitted that it was only through pure luck that no one had been injured.

“There is no excuse at all, it was a complete overreaction,” said Ms Manning, explaining that there had been no tax on the car and her client had feared it would be seized.

Ms Manning told the court that Ogunmodimu is a social care worker with Nua Healthcare and her clients require a high level of care, which makes it a stressful job.

Ms Manning went on to say that her client also has arrears on her house and “the buildup of pressure” led to Ogunmodimu reacting “in a crazy fashion on the day”

Ms Manning said that the accused was anxious not to lose her job and asked the court to consider postponing any driving disqualification for two to three months to enable her to keep her job.

“It was a completely irrational reaction,” concluded defence.

Noting that the accused had no previous convictions, had pleaded guilty, suffered with financial difficulties and had two teenage children to look after, Judge Catherine Staines convicted and fined Ogunmodimu €100 and imposed two driving disqualifications of four years on her, postponed until September 1.