A quantity surveyor who downed five drinks before fleeing from Gardai, going the wrong way around a roundabout before crashing into a car with five young women in it has escaped going to jail.
James Reilly appeared before Letterkenny District Court facing five charges of dangerous driving and endangerment in what Judge Paul Kelly described as “an extraordinary incident.”
The court heard Reilly, who didn’t even like rallying, had been attending the Donegal International Rally with friends on June 17th last year.
The 25-year-old was spotted by Gardai driving his Seat Leon leaving Ballyraine in Letterkenny who followed the car as Reilly tried to escape.
He overtook vehicles at speed, went the wrong way around two roundabouts before colliding head-on with another car on the wrong side of the road.
The car, which contained five young ladies, was damaged and at least one of the woman was injured.
The charge read that Reilly “drove his vehicle at high speed in an aggressive and dangerous manner, overtook vehicles on approach to roundabout, entering roundabout against the flow of traffic and colliding head-on into an oncoming vehicle.”
Reilly, with an address at Darkley Road in Co Armagh, but who now lives in Monaghan, fled from his car.
He tried to escape on foot but Garda Michael Kilcoyne gave chase and eventually caught him and arrested him.
Reilly failed to provide a specimen of breath when arrested and taken to Letterkenny Garda station.
Solicitor Frank Dorrian said his client was a senior quantity surveyor who came from a very respectable family and had been accompanied to court by his mother.
Mr Dorrian said his mother was not an apologist for her son but said he was the eldest of a family of four and that none of the other siblings had been in trouble.
Judge Paul Kelly had previously ordered a probation and community service report on O’Reilly.
However, he had warned “It is clearly a matter which suggests a sentence be given under the circumstances.
“However, I note the plea and the fact that he has no previous convictions. I will fully explore all the options but I will not limit myself to those options.”
When O’Reilly appeared again today, Judge Kelly took more time to read the Probation Report.
It read how he had no previous convictions and that he accepted responsibility for his actions. He is employed in the construction industry and plans to move abroad to further his career.
Judge Kelly sentenced Reilly to three months in prison but suspended the jail term for three years and also disqualified him from driving for a total of four years but agreed to postpone the ban until March 19th next.
He also struck out a number of other charges.