Jail for man who stole ambulance and crashed head-on into school bus
A patient who stole an ambulance and crashed it head-on into a school bus has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Dundalk Circuit Court heard the school driver had just dropped 20 children back to school and was heading to his base when the ambulance crashed into him on May 16, 2014.
Cathal Doolin (50), with an address at Glenmore Drive, Drogheda, was a patient at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, for the past two days at the time of the incident.
Kevin Segrave, prosecuting, said "he [Doolin] viewed he ought to leave the hospital quickly".
He pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the ambulance, school bus and a security barrier as well as dangerous driving and having no insurance.
The ambulance had just brought a patient into the emergency department of the hospital and, while paramedic Paul Kelly was in the rear of the vehicle, Doolin had got into the front seat and locked the doors. He refused to open the door, found the ignition key and Mr Kelly had to "hop out" as Doolin drove off. The ambulance hit the security barrier before heading onto the public road.
It was driven out on the Ballymakenny road and then on the return journey it collided with the school bus, which had just dropped 20 children to their school nearby.
The driver, Patrick Carroll, saw the ambulance and tried to avoid it. Garda Inspector Declan Power said: "[The ambulance] crossed a continuous white central line and collided practically head-on with the coach."
The estimated loss of the ambulance was €81,925 and €21,500 for the coach. Doolin suffered broken ankles and legs and injured his spleen. Mr Carroll suffered wrist and hand injuries.