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Young driver had 'panic attack' when he saw patrol car

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James O'Connell

James O'Connell

James O'Connell

A YOUNG driver who led gardai on a car chase through south west Dublin had "a complete panic attack" when he saw a patrol car, a court heard.

James O'Connell (21) forced oncoming cars to jam on their brakes and pull into the side of the road to avoid his 1997-registered vehicle.

The defendant eventually abandoned the car, which he had bought for €200, and was caught by officers following a short chase.

Judge John Lindsay fined O'Connell €1,000 and banned him from driving for three years.

The defendant, of Clifden Drive in Ballyfermot, admitted before Tallaght District Court to driving without insurance or a driving licence at Landen Road in Ballyfermot on April 10, 2014.

He also admitted to three counts of dangerous driving.

Garda Peter Finnan said gardai were alerted to a road traffic pursuit which had started in Ballyfermot.

Gda Finnan said that as O'Connell turned onto Ballyfermot Road he was driving in excess of the speed limit and he veered onto the wrong side of the road.

The garda said that as O'Connell turned onto St Laurence's Road, Ballyfermot he lost control of the car, veering onto the wrong side of the road and nearly colliding with another vehicle.

He said O'Connell drove through a red light at the junction of Chapelizod Hill and St Laurence's Road, before he abandoned the car.

The court heard the defendant has no previous convictions.

Defence lawyer George Burns said O'Connell, an unemployed labourer, had "a complete panic attack" when the garda car pulled up alongside him and he drove off.

Mr Burns also said O'Connell was very sorry for his behaviour.

hnews@herald.ie

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