A YOUNG man from Durrus who led 10 garda patrol cars over 30kms at speeds of up to 200kph, while under the influence of cocaine, appeared before Bandon District Court recently.
Sgt Paul Kelly told Judge Colm Roberts that just after midnight on September 5th last, Michael O’Driscoll (23) from Dunbeacon, Durrus, approached a checkpoint in Ballincollig, but turned around and failed to stop when he was pursued.
Sgt Kelly said that in the chase that followed O’Driscoll clocked speeds of up to 200kph at times.
‘From Ballincollig, Mr O’Driscoll headed through Kilumney village at a speed of 120kph and then between there and Aherla reached a speed of 140kph, at times rounding the bends on the wrong side of the road,’ Sgt Kelly said.
‘Between Aherla and Crookstown the vehicle reached a speed of up to 130kph and travelled through the village, then headed towards Beal na Bláth driving once again on the incorrect side of the road. He then headed towards Coppeen and eventually ended up in a field after leaving the road,’ the Sgt told the court.
O’Driscoll was then arrested and taken to Bandon Garda Station where he provided a blood sample which tested positive for cocaine.
‘This is not dangerous driving, this is extremely dangerous driving,’ Judge Roberts said. ‘It is only by divine fortune that nobody was killed that night. I need to be persuaded why he shouldn’t go to prison.’
Solicitor Flor Murphy said that his client was looking for mercy from the court.
‘He knows his licence is gone, he’s a good lad, he’s a good worker and his parents and his employer are here today,’ said Mr Murphy.
‘He tells me that he has not taken cocaine since that night, but when he gets behind the wheel of a car, he has a big problem,’ Mr Murphy said.
‘Firstly, he is driving a car after taking cocaine, and then he is driving a car that got up to 200kph on country roads, my first instinct is to send him to prison today,’ Judge Roberts said.
‘However, I feel I have to get a probation report in this matter, as I try not to make decisions on instinct. I am appalled at the danger he put other road users in, and the gardaí, that night, not to mention himself. Someone could have been killed.’
Judge Roberts was also told that Michael O’Driscoll had already received a warning from another court following a charge of careless driving.
Judge Roberts disqualified Michael O’Driscoll for four years, for driving while under the influence of an intoxicant, and fined him €2,500. The judge then adjourned the two charges of dangerous driving until May 20th for the preparation of a probation report.
‘I want to give this matter reflection, this is appalling,’ Judge Roberts said. ‘The court has a responsibility to protect the public and all I can say is that if he comes to the attention of gardaí for anything, he’d better pack his bags.’