Saturday 18 November 2017

Father 'deeply appalled' after 'well-mannered' son admits to high-speed garda chase

Dundalk Courthouse
Dundalk Courthouse Newsdesk Newsdesk

A father said he was "deeply appalled" after a court heard how his son was speeding in a car, failed to stop for gardaí and escaped across the border.

Michael McLaughlin, (27), Ballybinabay, Hackballscross, admitted three dangerous driving and one failing to stop charge after the chase that started around 4am on October 23 2015.

Mr McLaughlin works for his father in a local taxi company was later summonsed for offences arising out of the early morning incident.

Dundalk District Court heard how Gardai on patrol received a message from a colleague that a Toyota Avensis had failed to stop at the Avenue Road.

Gardai picked up the car at the Inner Relief Road and as the Avensis came towards the Quay Street junction, it was on the wrong side of the road and turned right into Quay Street, down the Coe's Road and back onto the Inner Relief Road without stopping.

Gardai said McLaughlin continued to drive at speed, going through a red light at the Avenue Road and driving in excess at 100kmph.

The car continued up Hoeys Lane and at the Xerox junction, failed to stop at a red light, heading towards Gibstown.

Gardai said it was driving slowly on the wrong side of the road and at Knockbridge, narrowly avoided hitting another vehicle.

At Rassan, McLaughlin lost control of the car and it crashed, as he tried to make it across the border at Culloville. Gardai tried to block the Avensis, but the driver got around them, hitting the patrol car and getting away into the North. Gardai picked up McLaughlin on CCTV at Park Street and identified him as the driver. There were other people in the vehicle, the CCTV showed.

McLaughlin has two previous convictions, from 2011, when he was banned for dangerous driving and no insurance.

McLaughlin's barrister said these convictions related to offences in 2008.

The barrister said there was a front seat passenger in the vehicle who was known to them, along with a second man in the back seat.

The barrister said: "These other gents may have been egging him on; they were not convincing him to do anything else'. He added no-one was injured in the incident and McLaughlin had since apologised to the officers involved.

McLaughlin, the barrister said, lives in Armagh and the previous dangerous driving conviction happened when he was a much younger man and immature. He added: "Unfortunately, on this evening the immaturity resurfaced.

"He broke a red light and went around the corner to see the checkpoints and he panicked as he knew he was in trouble.

"There was no voice of reason in that car that night and he is deeply apologetic for what occurred."

References were handed into Judge Brennan and the barrister said McLaughlin is a hard working young man who works for his father in Dundalk Cabs.

The barrister added the defendant's father is "deeply appalled because he knows this is out of character and all the staff and customers know him as a well mannered young man".

The barrister said McLaughlin had spoken to a priest about the incident and had admitted his responsibilities to him, his father and his colleagues.

He said: "There was only one way he was going to deal with this and he had not even offered to plead to careless driving. He accepts his responsibilities."

Judge Brennan imposed fines totalling €300 and disqualified McLaughlin from driving for a year.

The Argus

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