A Rosenallis man who jumped out of a moving car after leading gardaí on a high speed chase through icy conditions was last week disqualified from driving and given community service in lieu of prison.
Before Portlaoise District Court was Dean Kellett, Knockanowl, Rosenallis.
He was charged with dangerous driving, endangerment, driving without a driving licence, tax or insurance, and non display of tax disc.
Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that at 8.10pm on the night of December 17, 2011, Kellet was driving towards a garda checkpoint when he stopped, turned his car around and drove away from the checkpoint. There was snow and ice on the road and the surface was very slippy, said the inspector.
The gardaí gave chase and Kellet drove at 78km/h in a 50km zone. At one stage he turned off his lights and drove at oncoming traffic. He was driving on the wrong side of the road at oncoming traffic, the court heard.
Kellet finally jumped out of the car while the vehicle was still moving and ran away from the gardaí.
When he was arrested he initially claimed that the car had been stolen, but he later “changed his mind and told the truth”, said Insp Farrelly.
Kellet had no previous convictions.
Defence solicitor for Kellet admitted that her client had no excuse for his actions, adding that the incident had happened a number of years ago.
“He did something very stupid,” said defence, describing it as “a very chaotic part in his life”.
Judge Catherine Staines asked why had the case taken so long to come before the court.
Insp Farrelly replied that he believed Kellet had left the jurisdiction for some time.
After conferring with her client, defence confirmed that Kellet had been working in Dublin.
Judge Staines noted that Kellett had no previous convictions and had entered a guilty plea.
Judge Staines imposed 240 hours’ community service in lieu of six months in prison, driving disqualifications of two years and four years, and fined him €200. The matter was put back to October 16.