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Drunk driver 'speeding past families' as he fled gardai

A DRUNK driver who led gardai on a chase past the National Botanical Gardens where families were walking had taken alcohol to "chase the tail of the dog" after a night's drinking, a court heard.

James Mongan (28) was on his way to visit his sick wife in hospital when he drove away from a garda checkpoint, through a residential area and past the gardens where pedestrians were walking.

A judge adjourned the case against him for a week.

Mongan, of St Margaret's Park, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to dangerous, drunk and uninsured driving in Drumcondra and Glasnevin on August 6.

The court heard gardai were on checkpoint duty at Walsh Road, Drumcondra, at 12.20pm when they indicated to Mongan to stop.

Mongan's Peugeot drove off at speed through a residential area. It was a bank holiday Monday and there were a lot of pedestrians in the area, a garda sergeant said.

Mongan took an illegal right turn where people were walking into the National Botanical Gardens. He failed to stop and overtook another car dangerously.







Distressed

The Peugeot mounted a kerb and its front wheel blew out. He was arrested and tested over the alcohol limit. He admitted having no insurance.

The court heard the accused had previous convictions for uninsured and drunk driving. His previous driving ban had expired in December 2011.

Mongan's last conviction was in 2010 and he had been "keeping his head down" since, his solicitor Joe Coonan said.

The night before the incident, his wife had been ill and admitted to St Vincent's Hospital. He was in a "very distressed state" and reacted by drinking. The following day, he had to go to see her in hospital and had another drink to "chase the tail of the dog".

He took the car out, saw the garda checkpoint and drove off.

"It was a spur of the moment thing, it won't happen again. If he could turn back time, this wouldn't have happened," Mr Coonan said.

Mongan had previously worked in landscaping but was currently his wife's sole carer. He had a "small drink problem" in that he did not drink every day but tended to deal with trauma by drinking.

He had sought crisis intervention in relation to his problems. He was willing to do any amount of community service to avoid a custodial sentence.

"People could have been killed," Judge McNamara said.

She adjourned the case to November 6.

aphelan@herald.ie


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