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Tearaway teen who crashed into Cowen's VIP car avoids jail term

A TEENAGER who crashed into Brian Cowen's ministerial car during a high-speed garda chase has avoided a jail term at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

William Connor (18) refused to stop the stolen Mazda 323 he was driving when ordered to do so by gardai.

He then sped off before crashing into the side of a Garda Special Branch car which was escorting then-Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Connor, who was 16 at the time, continued to drive at high speeds, breaking red lights and ignoring stop signs, driving the wrong way around roundabouts and forcing his way in and out of busy lanes of traffic.







Dangerous

Many motorists had to take evasive action but nobody was injured during the chase.

Connor, of Croftwood Park, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty to three charges of dangerous driving in the Dublin 8 area and driving a car without the consent of the owner on November 18, 2010.

He had no previous convictions.

Judge Petria McDonnell said it was "lucky no one was injured".

She accepted that a probation report concluded that Connor is at a low risk of reoffending and is no longer associating with the youths he had been at the time.

Judge McDonnell acknowledged that both Connor's parents and his grandfather had died in the past few years and commented that he had "a lot to be dealing with".

She said it was "welcome news" that Connor is now doing a course and advised him "at the end of the day, it's your life" before she sentenced him to 12 months in prison, but suspended it in full on condition the he stay out of trouble for that period.

Garda Cathal McNamara said that the Mazda pulled in front of his patrol car when he was on St John's Road West, in Dublin 8, but Connor refused to stop the vehicle when he signalled him to do so.

He said the resulting pursuit came to an end in Ballyfermot when the Mazda mounted a kerb and drove into a field after Connor drove the wrong way round a roundabout.

Connor was arrested hiding in a nearby garden.

hnews@herald.ie


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