Lucky escape for driver narrowly missed by stray bullet
A MAN has had a lucky escape after a bullet whistled through the Land Rover he was driving, narrowly missing his head.
Mick Dunbar was just outside Shillelagh in west Wicklow on Monday night when the bullet struck his vehicle on the passenger side and exited on the panel behind the driver's seat.
The 62-year-old retired private investigator said the noise rendered him temporarily deaf for some minutes.
Mr Dunbar -- a hunter and local gun club member -- speculated the shot was a stray, fired by an illegal deer poacher in the surrounding woodland.
"I was driving up along the road and I heard a bang, and then I heard the whistle at the back of my ears, and then I wasn't able to hear. It put two holes in my vehicle, " he told the Irish Independent.
"I put the foot down and pulled in. I didn't realise what happened. It happened that quickly."
A shocked Mr Dunbar immediately alerted the gardai when he saw the bullet holes.
"I'll bet he [the shooter] doesn't even know that he's done it," Mr Dunbar said.
"It came in one side of the panel and out the other far panel at the back of my head, just a little bit beyond the seat belt.
"I'd say if it had been a second faster, I wouldn't be talking now."
Mr Dunbar, who lives in Tinahely and is a member of Shillelagh Gun Club, said he believed the bullet was fired from a high-calibre weapon.
He blamed the incident on poachers illegally hunting for deer after dark.
Deer Alliance, an independent group set up to certify those involved in wild deer hunting, said the recession had led to an increase in illegal poaching.
Spokesman Liam Nolan estimated that a stag carcass could be worth up to €100.
Gardai are examining the area looking for the bullet. It is understood they believe the bullet may have been a stray, and not fired deliberately at the passing jeep. A garda spokesman said the incident was being investigated.