A 21-year-old man who stole a car in Carlow while under the influence of drink and drugs and drove it to Portlaoise where he crashed into a number of vehicles before knocking a cyclist off their bike has been sentenced to ten months in prison.
At Portlaoise District Court, Gary Doran (21), Apartment 14 Centre Court, Graiguecullen, Co. Carlow, was charged with numerous counts of hit and run, four counts of dangerous driving, causing harm to a pedestrian, drink driving, drug driving, no licence or insurance, and the stealing of an MPV, all on August 13 last year.
Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on August 13 last, the accused was driving a car which was involved in a traffic collision at Beechfield Estate, Portlaoise. He left the scene and then caused another collision at James Fintan Lalor Avenue, where he drove erratically. He drove on and turned into a housing estate, where he drove at excessive speed in an effort to evade the gardí.
During the incident, the accused knocked a cyclist off their bicycle. The cyclist attended at A&E, but the State did not have a medical report on the injured party. Sgt Kirby said the bicycle was damaged and no longer fit for purpose
Sgt Kirby told the court that the car the accused had been driving had been stolen in Carlow. It was hotwired outside a café and the accused subsequently completely wrote it off. He also caused damage of €1,200 to one vehicle that he struck, and €1,100 to another.
After being arrested the accused was tested for drink driving and gave a reading of 83mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. There was also a positive reading for drug driving.
A co-accused in the case, who was the passenger in the stolen car, already appeared before the court and his case was adjourned to March 11 next.
The accused had 34 previous convictions, including two for the unauthorised taking of an MPV.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said the accused had chaotic living arrangements over the last two years and had been “associating with particular elements”. Mr Meagher said the accused was a vulnerable person who would go along with the group, but he had since been engaging with the probation services.
In relation to the stolen car, Mr Meagher said that it had been a spur of the moment decision and the two men had just hopped into it with the engine running.
In a letter to the court, the accused said that at the time of the offence he had been suffering from drink and drug issues and had not been thinking straight. He said he had developed a drug habit “trying to blend in with others”.
In sentencing, Judge Staines noted the accused had been disqualified from driving at the time that he stole the car and drove it under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
He crashed it, left the scene, crashed into another car and then knocked a cyclist of their bike, which could have killed them.
Saying he had put numerous lives at risk, Judge Staines imposed a ten-month prison sentence and a number of driving disqualifications, with the accused disqualified from driving for ten years.
Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal.