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Locals forced to jump from joyrider's path

A YOUNG driver who led gardai on a high-speed car chase during icy weather earlier this year, narrowly missing parked vehicles and forcing other motorists to jump out of his way has escaped jail.

Darren Duff (22) ran from the stolen Toyota Landcruiser after he lost control of it in a housing estate in Finglas.

He was chased on foot by gardai and was arrested close by. A judge sentenced Duff to six months in prison, but suspended it for two years.

Duff, of Balbutcher Lane, Ballymun, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to stealing a 2003-registered vehicle from Wellmount Road, Finglas. He also admitted driving without insurance as well as dangerous driving and failing to stop for gardai. Garda Michael Parry Jones said he was on mobile patrol on Wellmount Road when he indicated for a Toyota Landcruiser to stop.

Garda Jones said the vehicle failed to stop and drove at speed up Wellmount Road, before turning onto Dunsink Road, a residential area. The court heard it was dark and the road was icy with speed bumps.


Garda Jones said Duff drove at high speed up Dunsink Road, narrowly missing parked cars and forcing two other motorists to jump out of the way.

The garda said Duff then mounted a pavement and drove across a green area in St Helena's estate, before bringing the car back onto the road. Garda Jones said Duff lost control of the vehicle in Barnamore estate. He ran from the vehicle and was later caught in Kippure Park.

The court heard Duff has three previous convictions, including a previous conviction for drunken driving.

Defence solicitor Conor Ruane said Duff's mother was in court to support him.

He said Duff did the Leaving Certificate and went on to train as an electrician, but he lost that job due to the downturn in the economy. He has also suffered some medical problems.

Judge Eamon O'Brien fined Duff €100, banned him from driving for a year and sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for two years.