A 29-YEAR-old Clonakilty hotel worker has been told by Judge James McNulty not to ‘repeat the trick’ of drink driving while a probation report is being compiled.
Caroline Hayes, 4 College Road, Clonakilty, appeared at a recent sitting of Bandon District Court where she pleaded guilty to four charges which included drink driving, driving without care and attention, failure to stop at the scene of an accident, and failure to give information.
Insp Ger Lacey said the defendant, who works in a hotel, was arrested in Bandon on the day of the incident but it was part of a series of events that began in Cork city and Judge McNulty accepted jurisdiction on the case.
Insp Ger Lacey told the court that on Valentine’s Day (February 14th) Shane Long was driving his taxi along Glasheen Road in Cork city when the defendant drove towards him in traffic.
‘She didn’t pull in, and it ended up causing a ‘side swipe’ collision which caused damage to both cars. She didn’t stop and kept going, while Mr Long turned around and drove after her. He rang the gardaí and he described her driving as erratic,’ said Insp Lacey.
The court was told that gardaí in Bandon were then alerted and they set up a checkpoint at Irishtown where they stopped the defendant who was described as being ‘clearly drunk’.
She was brought to Bandon Garda Station and charged with drink driving after being breathalysed, where she gave a reading of 66 mcgs of alcohol per 100 mls of breath.
Solicitor Daniel Johnson said his client deeply regrets the incident and didn’t realise she was so drunk while driving.
‘She panicked and didn’t realise damage was caused to the other car,’ said Mr Johnson.
Judge James McNulty asked had it not occurred to her to stop instead of driving ‘towards Bandon and beyond’.
Mr Johnson said his client was driving home and was unaware she was being followed, but when she was stopped by gardaí she co-operated and also wrote to Mr Long and her insurance company covered the damage to his car.
‘My client has never been in court before and she is meeting this the best she can, and she has suffered from depression. It is likely that her insurance company will seek costs back if she’s convicted and there are now alleged personal injuries claims by Mr Long,’ said Mr Johnson.
Mr Johnson said his client had not told her employers about the court case and Judge McNulty said she should tell her employer as ‘honesty is the best policy’.
Judge McNulty said he wanted a probation report to be prepared on the defendant as he wants to know if there are other issues involved and adjourned the case until September 18th.
Judge McNulty added that he was apprehensive that she ‘might repeat the trick’ but Mr Johnson said his client is adamant she won’t.
The defendant told Judge McNulty that she doesn’t drink and drive and that she needs her car and said she is also on medication for depression issues.
Judge McNulty said there was nothing wrong with having depression, but said he needed her word that she wouldn’t drink and drive while the case is awaiting conclusion.
Judge McNulty instructed Mr Johnson to introduce his client to the Probation Officer.