TD's son is jailed for 22 months after stolen-car rampage
THE son of a high-ranking Fianna Fail TD was lucky he didn't kill someone when he drove a stolen car at high speed against oncoming traffic and through a pedestrian crossing in a busy suburb, a judge was told.
Peter Fleming (22), of The Shambles, Market Square, Tullamore, Co Offaly, is the son of the FF spokesman on public sector reform Sean Fleming.
And he was four times over the legal limit when he was arrested and tasered by gardai in Limerick earlier this year.
Jailing the accused for 22 months at Limerick District Court, Judge Eugene O'Kelly said it was the worst case of dangerous driving to come before his court.
The jailing comes days after the activation of a suspended sentence for theft and criminal damage at Portlaoise District Court last week where he was jailed for 10 months.
Judge O'Kelly ordered that yesterday's sentence run consecutively to Fleming's current term.
During the hearing, the judge was told it was a miracle no one was killed during the driving rampage.
Garda Sergeant Donal Cronin said Fleming, who has 24 previous convictions, drove across three lanes of oncoming traffic and through a pedestrian crossing while it was in use before hitting an embankment.
Before crashing, he had narrowly missed a patrol car which had followed him into a cul de sac during the high-speed chase.
The court heard that Garda Deirdre Foley and Detective Garda Paul Crowley were on patrol in the busy Dooradoyle suburb when they noticed Fleming driving erratically and that motorists were forced on to the kerb to avoid him.
The judge said Fleming had stolen a car when he had suspended sentences hanging over him and he "knew his actions were going to trigger serious consequences".
He said: "What is particularly disturbing is having been detected, he continued with a complete and wanton disregard for the safety of dozens of people and that he tried to evade his apprehension
"No matter how drunk he was he should have known the game was up."
Jullianne Kiely, defending, said her client accepts that he has done wrong but said alcohol addiction has marred his life.
Judge O'Kelly said the accused clearly has an addiction problem judging from his "dreadful" previous record and also disqualified him from driving for four years.