A MAN who left the scene of two crashes, one in which a woman and her two children were involved, has been given a suspended sentence and put off the road for five years.
Gerard Soraghan ( 23), with an address at Dunmahon, Dundalk, admitted a number of charges including drink driving that arose from an accident at the Avenue Road on January 22 and also pleaded guilty to charges that came from a crash at the Xerox junction less than three months earlier, on October 1 2011.
Judge Flann Brennan heard how, in the January accident, Soraghan's van had crashed into a wall which was damaged. The driver was not there when Gardaí arrived, but they found Soraghan's licence in the front seat. He approached officers a short time later at the scene and was arrested for drink driving. A breath sample showed he was over the legal limit.
In the first crash, a woman and her two children were returning from giving a friend a lift in Blackrock when Soraghan's BMW crashed into them and drove off. Soraghan later went to the Garda station and admitted being involved.
The woman driver said her 13-yearold was returning from his first teenage disco when the crash happened and her other child, an 11-year-old, was in the front seat. She told Judge Brennan how her children had screamed after the crash, which spun her car around on the road.
The driver said: 'I thought my 11-yearold was dead because he wasn't talking. My 13-year-old pulled his brother out of the car'. The victim added that she had to have an operation on her nose because of cartilage damage'.
Soraghan's solicitor, Paula Tiernan, said her client had made a full admission to Gardai, produced all his documentation and asked about the people in the other vehicle. She said Soraghan can't explain why he left the scene but he had €500 in court and his insurance details are available to the victim.
The court heard Soraghan had previous convictions, including one for assault causing harm. The victim said she was not the type of person to hold grudges and she knows Soraghan's parents but she had told him ' to cop himself on' and she didn't know how someone could leave the scene of a crash.
Judge Brennan said the charges were 'extremely serious' and the only good thing that could be said was that noone had been killed. He said Soraghan fleeing the scene was 'an extremely cowardly and dreadful thing to do'
He imposed a three month sentence, but suspended it for three months; fined Soraghan €300 for drink driving and banned him from driving for five years.