A motorway lane had to be closed and traffic stopped when a Portlaoise man drunkenly drove the wrong way down the M7, last week’s Portlaoise District Court heard.
Arising from the incident, John Peake, of 4 The Maples, Forest Park, Portlaoise, was charged with dangerous driving, and driving against the flow of traffic on a motorway.
The offences occurred at the M7, Togher, Portlaoise, on June 2 last year.
Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence to the court that at 2.30am on that date, gardaí received a call of a car travelling southbound on the northbound lane of the motorway.
“It was travelling on the wrong side of the road,” said Inspector Farrelly.
The gardaí went to intercept the vehicle and the patrol car had to take avoidance action not to hit the other car.
Insp Farrelly said that the toll booth had to be notified and the lane closed to stop any further traffic.
The inspector said that Peake had been arrested for drunken driving, he was processed for drunken driving, but there was some difficulty with the sample at the garda station.
Defence for Peake was solicitor, Mr Declan Breen.
Mr Breen said that his client had been working for ten days straight at the time and after work had gone for a few drinks.
He parked near the pub, which was about a mile and a half away from his home, and called for a taxi.
The taxi didn’t come, said Mr Breen, and Peake made the mistake of deciding to drive the car.
“He made a catastrophic mistake,” admitted defence. “He went the wrong way, he was confused and disoriented and took the wrong carriageway.”
Mr Breen went on to say that Peake appreciated the seriousness of what he had done and was very grateful that nobody had been injured in the incident.
“He acknowledges his driving was exceedingly dangerous,” said Mr Breen, adding that Peake had no previous convictions.
Judge Catherine Staines convicted and fined Peake €400 and disqualified him from driving for two years.