Tim Healy A GARDA drove the wrong way down a one-way Luas line street and took off at speed when one of his colleagues tried to take the keys out of the ignition to arrest him for drink-driving, a court heard yesterday.
James Keaty (27), who has now resigned from the force but was stationed in Clondalkin, Dublin, pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment, escaping from lawful custody, drink-driving and having a tax disc on his car which was three months out of date.
Dublin District Court heard Inspector John Quirke and a colleague spotted the car driving the wrong way down Harcourt Street, along the Luas line, at around 3.30am on March 11, 2005.
When they stopped the car, Keaty said he was a member of the Garda, but when told he was being arrested for drink-driving, he "took off at speed," Supt Albert G Treacy told the court.
One of Inspector Quirke's fingers was slightly injured as he tried to take the keys out of the ignition. The car was found shortly afterwards locked up and parked on the Luas line at Charlemont Bridge.
Luas operators, Connex, had to have the vehicle towed away before its service resumed later that morning. Keaty, who was brought up in Palmerstown, Dublin, and now lives in Portlaoise, had been on half pay since the incident and had tendered his resignation 10 days ago.
He gave a report to his superiors about the incident. The court heard he had been a garda for six years and his father had served 35 years in the force. "It is a matter of major embarrassment," his lawyer said.
He had bought a house in Portlaoise with his partner and they had a young child. Around this time, his partner no longer had a job in the town and he was travelling to and from Portlaoise to work.
He also suffered from depression, had been on medication and, on the night of the incident, "had a few drinks".
Judge Mary Collins banned him from driving for two years and fined him a total of ?800. She said he had paid a high penalty but it was self-imposed.