A MAN who drove at a garda car while leading officers on a 120kph chase was himself a survivor of a fatal crash, a court heard.
Karl Cummins (22) drove recklessly with gardai in pursuit, despite his own experience months earlier of having pulled his dying friend from the wreckage of a car that had smashed into a tree.
Judge James Faughnan jailed him for four months and banned him from driving for 10 years.
Cummins, of Drumcairn Drive, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of dangerous driving in Tallaght and other locations in west Dublin last April 13.
Dublin District Court heard gardai saw a Volvo driven by the accused at 11.15pm.
It travelled at high speed on the N7, failed to stop and continued through Saggart and Rathcoole. The court heard the car was being driven with no lights on at speeds of up to 120kph.
It overtook vehicles on both sides of the road and drove at a garda car, forcing it to take evasive action.
It drove through a series of red lights and oncoming traffic had to take action to avoid it.
The vehicle only came to a halt when it ran out of petrol.
The court heard the defendant had previous convictions and was already under a 10-year driving disqualification at the time of the incident.
He had been very co-operative with the gardai after his arrest.
There was a person in the car with him who said they were being followed and in danger, his lawyer said.
"That was why he began to drive at some pace," he explained.
The accused saw the gardai, realised he was banned and did not want to be caught, he continued.
A friend of the accused had died in a car crash the summer before the offence.
Cummins had been in that car at the time and was involved in moving his friend from it.
The car crashed into a tree and he had to help his friend out, but the man died.
He found this extremely upsetting, it affected him immensely and he went off the rails. He realised his actions in the garda chase were "extremely dangerous and stupid".
"He hangs his head in shame," his lawyer added.
"He is somebody who has seen first-hand the effects of dangerous driving. Anybody with any semblance of sense would realise that these are lethal machines on the road," said Judge Faughnan.