A FATHER'S life was under threat from "very serious criminals" when he sped away from gardai and crashed a stolen van into safety barriers, a court has been told.
Mark Green (30) believed the undercover gardai chasing him were criminals he owed a €5,000 drug debt to.
At Dublin District Court, judge Ann Watkin gave him a five-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and banned him from driving for five years.
A condition of the suspended sentence is that he cannot sit in any car without a driver.
Green, from Leighlinn Road, Crumlin, pleaded guilty to dangerous and uninsured driving and failing to stop for gardai.
Garda Patrick McAninue said he was on duty on August 2, 2013, when he saw Green driving a van at Palmerston Avenue and signalled him to stop.
The defendant failed to do so and continued driving at high speed through a residential area before crashing through 3ft-high safety barriers.
Judge Watkin said there "could have been children" in the area and warned that "somebody could have been killed"
The court heard that Mr Green has 24 previous convictions, including six for uninsured driving.
His barrister Christina Daly said that her client had children and a mortgage in "large arrears" on top of a €5,000 drug debt for cannabis and Valium tablets.
She also revealed that the stolen van he crashed was to be "deposited elsewhere".
Judge Watkin accepted that the defendant developed a drug problem, which he has since kicked, after breaking up with his girlfriend three years ago and getting himself into a mess.
Detailing the conditions of his suspended sentence, she added: "If you're in a car, you've to get out if the driver does."