Careless driver almost caused collision in rush to freeze fish

DISQUALIFIED

Careless driver almost caused collision in rush to freeze fish

A 42-year-old man who overtook on a roundabout forcing other vehicles to avoid a collision as he had fish in his vehicle that he was anxious to get refrigerated has been disqualified from driving for three months.

Mariuz Okapiec (42), 40 Heather Lane, Esker Hills, was charged with dangerous driving.

When the case first came before the court in October, Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that at Tower Hill, Portlaoise, on September 29 this year, during the Old Fort Festival, the accused overtook two vehicles at a roundabout, forcing several vehicles to have to avoid a collision. No one was injured in the incident.

The accused had one previous conviction for drink driving.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said the accused had travelled to Cork to go fishing and had fish in the vehicle that he was anxious to have refrigerated. He got caught behind slow traffic, with the road closed off for the festival.

Ms Fitzpatrick said he accepted it was a dangerous manoeuvre to make, but a conviction for dangerous driving could affect his work. Defence said the accused was currently doing the an external drivers programme.

Saying that the accused was clearly in need of education for his driving, Judge Catherine Staines said she would consider reducing the charge to careless driving but the accused would have to face a disqualification.

The matter was adjourned for him to complete the external programme.

At last week’s court, Ms Fitzpatrick said the accused had completed the programme. She asked the court not to disqualify him, as he drives for a living.

Judge Staines refused, saying the matter was too serious, and disqualified the accused from driving for three months. The driving disqualification was postponed until May 1 next.