A 58-YEAR-old former bus driver who prevented a van from overtaking him, has been convicted and fined €250 and disqualified from driving for two years, during a case which Judge David Waters described as a ‘classic case of road rage’.
Richard Tyndall, Apt 2, South Square, Rosscarbery pleaded not guilty to two charges of dangerous driving at a recent sitting of Clonakilty District Court.
Giving evidence in court, witness Brian Patterson told the court that on December 10th 2015 he was driving behind the defendant from Skibbereen to Clonakilty. Mr Patterson said that he noticed the driver kept driving slowly and then jamming on the brakes and he even tried to pass him out, but was unable to do so.
‘I stayed behind him and he would stop and then he drove on and stopped again. I nearly went into him and I didn’t know what was going on, and this happened five or six times until we reached the Maxol roundabout, where he put his finger up at me and drove on,’ said Mr Patterson.
When questioned by the defendant’s solicitor, Ray Hennessy, Mr Patterson said he stayed his correct distance behind the defendant. However, Mr Hennessy put it to Mr Patterson that his client braked because he was driving too close to him.
A second witness, Michael McCarthy, gave evidence that on the day in question he was driving into Clonakilty and was behind the van being driven by Mr Patterson. He said he saw the car in front driven by the defendant stop and go again about five or six times, and he said it continued like that as far as the Ahamilla GAA complex coming into Clonakilty.
‘The van tried to overtake but the car sped up too and it was only at the Maxol roundabout that I saw the registration of the car and also Mr Patterson’s name, as it was on his van,’ said Mr McCarthy.
Gda O’Driscoll from Clonakilty Garda Station said that on the day in question Mr Patterson called to the station to report the incident of dangerous driving by the defendant. Gda O’Driscoll was told that a Toyota Corolla driven by the defendant jammed on the brakes on several occasions and when Mr Patterson tried to overtake, the car also sped up, so he couldn’t pass him out.
Gda O’Driscoll said Mr Patterson made a formal statement on Dec 14th and Mr McCarthy came in at a later date to do the same. Gda O’Driscoll said he checked the registration of the car and found it to be registered to Mr Tyndall and he rang him and informed him that a complaint had been made about his driving. Mr Tyndall told Gda O’Driscoll he was the driver on the day and he made no other comment.
Mr Tyndall made a statement on December 12th 2015 where he said he was being tailgated by a van on the day in question. ‘I was not long after surgery and he came up very close to me. I accelerated when he tried to overtake me as his driving was so erratic I didn’t want him driving in front of me,’ said Mr Tyndall in the statement.
Mr Hennessy asked Gda O’Driscoll if he was aware that his client had spoken with Gda John Miskella on the date of the incident, which Gda O’Driscoll said he was not aware of.
Gda Miskella gave evidence that on the day the defendant called to the station and said he was involved in a road traffic accident. Gda Miskella said he took some details and Mr Tyndall said he was hit by a van near The Pike Bar outside Clonakilty.
Gda Miskella said he checked Mr Tyndall’s car and found that there was no damage to the vehicle, bar a few scratches, but nothing fresh, and he told the court that he only became aware a week later that Mr Tyndall had already spoken to Gda O’Driscoll on the matter.
Ray Hennessy said his client’s basic complaint was that Mr Patterson was driving too close to him on the day in question. Mr Hennessy said his client was previously a bus driver with no previous convictions.
Giving evidence Mr Tyndall told the court that on December 10th 2015 while driving to Clonakilty he noticed a blue van driving behind him and it was coming up very close to his vehicle.
‘I knew he was a bad driver and I slowed down and he flashed his lights. I was being bullied on the road and I was in danger, and he was a split second away from my head. The idea of me jamming on the brakes is ludicrous,’ said Mr Tyndall.
‘He came up near me again and I slowed down again and after a while I accelerated again. He didn’t stop in time and tipped my car. I waited for him to get out of his car but he didn’t and he then tried to overtake me again and I decided I wasn’t going to let him overtake me. At the Maxol roundabout I could hear him screaming abuse at me and I gave him the finger and drove on.’ Mr Tyndall said he later received a call from Gda O’Driscoll and the first thing he told him was that he was being tailgated earlier by Mr Patterson.
Supt O’Mahony asked the defendant why didn’t he pull in to let Mr Patterson overtake him on the road.
Mr Tyndall said Mr Patterson was already driving erratically and that ‘he wasn’t going to let him win’.
Supt O’Mahony also pointed out that the other witness, Mr McCarthy, gave the same evidence as Mr Patterson about the defendant’s driving on the day.
‘The evidence is that you created a serious situation on two occasions and that you then drove up McCurtain Hill and didn’t go to the garda station,’ the Supt said.
Mr Hennessy said the evidence proves his client reacted to what he thought was a dangerous situation.
Judge David Waters said there were two incidences of dangerous driving at Ballydevane and Curragh and had to rule that the reactions of the defendant were not justified.
Mr Hennessy said his client may not have been in the best frame of mind after surgery, but Judge Waters said that even if the van tailgated him, Mr Tyndall should have pulled in and let the van take over.
‘He slowed down and speeded up several times and it’s a classic case of road rage,’ said Judge Waters.
Judge Waters convicted the defendant on one charge of dangerous driving and took into consideration the other charge of dangerous driving, and fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal in the defendant’s own bond of €100 cash.