A 22-years old Kerrykeel man threw a bottle at a pursuing garda patrol car and disengaged the back lights in an effort to escape during a ‘crazy’ 20 minutes high speed chase, Letterkenny Circuit Court heard.
Gary Gibbons, Glenvar Road, has avoided being sent to jail for 18 months but has been ordered to do 200 hours Community Service and was banned from driving for eight years.
The court heard Gibbons was a front seat passenger in his Opel Corsa car on October 18, 2012 driven by Cathal Dunleavy, who is in jail. There were two young ladies in the car including Gibbons then 16-year-old pregnant girlfriend.
Passing sentence, Judge John O’Hagan, said it was ‘mad driving’ and it was fortunate nobody had been killed. Gibbons was before the court to face charges of criminal damage, endangering traffic and permitting another to drive while uninsured.
A video of the chase had been shown at a previous court sitting. Judge O’Hagan said Dunleavy had been given the consent of Gibbons to drive the car.
“He was up to his neck in this crazy driving,” he said.
The judge said their car had sped off in the direction of Rathmullan after it failed to stop for gardai. A high speed chase ensued but the two men did not know a pursuing patrol car had a video camera recording the incident.
Judge O’Hagan said the car was ‘swerving’ and doing everything to ‘throw off’ the gardai during the pursuit.
“On one occasion the car stopped around a corner- the inevitable result would have been an horrific accident- were it not for the competence of the garda driver. Mr Gibbons disengaged the back lights and it was fortunate the garda car was able to stop. However, the patrol car was then struck by the Opel Corsa. During the chase a bottle was thrown at a patrol car and damaged the front windscreen. Gibbons and Dunleavy were up to their neck in this appalling act and throughout this chase Gibbons 16 year-old pregnant girlfriend was in the back seat of the car,” Judge O’Hagan said.