Man’s car became airborne during high-speed Garda pursuit

December 14, 2017

A Letterkenny man has been ordered to do 120 hours community service after what was described as an “appalling case” involving a high-speed chase through areas of the town.

Gardai had detected John McKelvey of Correnagh driving at a speed of 147 kms in a 100km zone when they were operating a speed check-point at Dromore on January 25th last.

A previous sitting of the court had heard that the 21-year-old defendant, who faced five charges of dangerous driving, had failed to slow down and had continued on in the direction of Lurgybrack.

Gardai reported that he had been travelling at 115 km as they approached a humpback bridge and the car had become airborne.

The defendant had continued on driving at between 110 and 120 kms per hour before Gardai decided to stop pursuing it as it was deemed unsafe.

Shortly afterwards, Garda Kilcoyne spotted the defendant’s vehicle, a black Corsa, having crashed into a ditch. McKelvey had subsequently been arrested at just after 3.a.m. following the 18 km pursuit.

Defendant’s solicitor, Patsy Gallagher said his client understood that his behaviour could have resulted in a fatality.

He had observed the blue lights of the Garda patrol car and had subsequently panicked.

Addressing Letterkenny District Court, Judge Paul Kelly said it was an “appalling case” involved a pursuit that had lasted up to thirteen minutes at high speed.

Mr Gallagher told the court that his client had undertaken the Pro-Social Drivers course which had been “extremely beneficial” to him. “He has learned his lesson and the Probation Report on him is good.”

McKelvey is now residing and working in Waterford.

Judge Kelly agreed that the Probation Report had been “very positive” and noted that the defendant had completed the Pro-Social Drivers course.

He ordered him to undertake 80 hours of community service in relation to one of the charges while disqualifying him from driving for two years.

He further imposed 40 hours of community service on a second charge with a disqualification period of two years.

The charges are to run consecutively.