Thursday 8 December 2016

Man (32) who was dragged from burning car after high speed pursuit avoids jail

Sonya McLean

Published 03/10/2016 | 15:41

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

A man who had to be dragged by gardaí from a burning car after he crashed into another vehicle during a high speed pursuit has avoided a jail term.

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Kieran Cox (32) of Thomond Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment at Littlepace, Clonee, on February 2, 2012. He had lost control of the Volkswagen Passat he was driving after failing to make a left hand turn and crashed into a Toyota Yaris that was stopped at a junction.

The driver of the Yaris spotted the Passat coming at speed and braced himself for impact before his car was spun into the junction. He was later treated for whiplash.

Garda Michael Hughes told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting that gardaí shouted at Cox to stop the car when they saw the Passat accelerating through a junction in the Cherryfield area of Walkinstown.

He refused to pull over and the resulting pursuit ended when he crashed into the Yaris, spun out of control and collided with a pole.

A fire started in the engine of the Passat and Cox had to be dragged out of the car by gardaí. He was arrested but made no admissions during his interview.

Judge Melanie Greally sentenced Cox to four years in prison which she suspended in full because of the “significant and positive turnaround” he had since made.

She heard evidence that although Cox had many previous convictions including road traffic, drug and theft offences, he had not come to garda attention since 2012.

He also no longer abused alcohol and was considered a responsible father to his two daughters and step-children.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in 2012 when he failed to appear at a court date but he contacted gardaí himself the following year to have it dealt with. The warrant was not executed by the gardaí until 2015 and the case was brought back before the courts.

Judge Greally said the details of the case were shocking and noted that Cox's driving included failing to stop at junctions, breaking red lights and mounting a kerb in a housing estate. She said other motorists needed to take “evasive action” and that the driver of the Yaris “was lucky to have emerged without serious injuries”.

Gda Hughes agreed with Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, defending that Cox had since “entirely turned his life around” had stopped drinking heavily and had not come to garda attention.

He accepted that he was “a totally different person” to the one he arrested in February 2012.

Ms O'Sullivan said Cox's sister “died tragically” in 2008 and his father's death four months later led to his life spiralling out of control.

Counsel told the court that February 2012 “was the catalyst” for Cox realising that something had to change. She said he had deep remorse for this offence and offered his sincere apologies to the victim.

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