Taxi driver who 'snapped' and ran down passenger banned from roads for four years
A taxi driver who “snapped” and ran down a passenger who ran away without paying the fare has been given a suspended sentence and disqualified from driving for four years.
David Ryan (56) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to Eoin Daly at Carysfort Park, Blackrock on April 7, 2011.
Garda Geraldine McManigan told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that Mr Daly suffered fractures to his ankle which have affected his ability to play rugby at senior level in university.
Medical reports stated that his injuries left him with a 20pc greater risk of developing arthritis but that this should have shown up in a two year period after the injury and has not developed. Mr Daly was on crutches for months but has since gone back to playing rugby.
In his victim impact report he said he accepts he was wrong to run away from the taxi and was embarrassed. He suffered flashbacks afterwards and has spent €4,492 on physiotherapy.
Ryan, formerly of Glenfield Park, Clondalkin Dublin picked up Mr Daly and another passenger at around 3am. He drove them to the Carysfort Park area where the two passengers ran from the taxi without paying the fare.
The taxi driver drove his car onto a footpath and across the park, swerving from side to side. Mr Daly said Ryan was driving so fast that the other man had to jump into a garden to avoid being hit.
A witness from a nearby house described seeing one man running across the green with a car “in hot pursuit” and said the driver was trying to block the men off by repeatedly driving in front of them.
The car hit Mr Daly and he fell to the ground. Ryan got out of this taxi and stood over him and started gesticulating and arguing with him about the fare before driving off.
Gardaí arrested Ryan two weeks later and he admitted there had been an incident. He denied knocking the victim down and said Mr Daly had fallen down.
Steven Dixon BL, defending, said his client is a father of four who has worked as a taxi driver for twenty years.
During this time he has been abused, attacked and assaulted and in 2010 a man smashed him in the face with a can in order to avoid paying, counsel said.
He said his client was under severe financial difficulties at the time, with a crippling mortgage and credit card debt. He has just sold his house and is staying with his sister in Kildare.
Counsel said Ryan snapped on the night and did something dangerous to get his fare. “He is saddened and disgusted with himself. There is no excuse,” said Mr Dixon.
Judge Patricia Ryan imposed a three year sentence which she suspended in full. She noted he had been under great financial and family stress but had €5,000 in court as a token of remorse.
She noted his remorse and apology and accepted the offence was out of character. She added that the mandatory four year disqualification would affect his ability to work.