Cocaine-fulled driver’s lucky escape after falling asleep behind wheel

July 17, 2020

A young man who fell asleep at the wheel after taking a cocktail of cocaine and cannabis was very lucky that he or others were not killed, Ballyshannon District court has heard.

The court was told that 24-year-old Conor Gilmartin-Gallagher, East Rock, Ballyshannon was fortunate that he or others were not killed in a “very bad” case of dangerous and drug driving.

And, but for the quick thinking of his passenger who managed to steer the vehicle, and pass out another vehicle before halting the car, there could have been fatalities

Inspector Denis Joyce said the defendant took considerable quantities of cocaine and cannabis before getting behind the wheel of the car on April 14 last year.

He literally “conked out” and his head fell down on the wheel causing a potentially major accident.

“Only that his passenger manager to gain control of the steering wheel and pass out another vehicle before crashing then there could have been a death or deaths”, said Inspector Denis Joyce.

Sentencing the defendant, Judge Kevin Kilrane said this was a bad case of drug driving.

The judge said he was surprised that the defendant had not been prosecuted under the old legislation which could lead to a four- year driving ban.

He added it was no surprise that the defendant had fallen asleep at the wheel given the amount of drugs he had consumed.

The judge said it was a miracle that nobody was killed, and the court could have been looking at a fatality.

Judge Kilrane said it was lucky the defendant had been stopped in his tracks.

Defence solicitor Rory O’Brien said his client had issues with drugs but was dealing with them and was taking these matters very seriously.

He had been seven months on the straight and narrow and this was the worst decision of his life and would affect his employment prospects.

The defendant was prepared to give drug samples to ensure there was no repeat of what happened.

He had a stable home life and his mother was in court with him.

The defendant said he wanted to apologize for his actions and especially to those all around him.

The defendant pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful possession of herbal cannabis at Lord Edward Street, Sligo on February 15 last year for which he got the Probation Act.

He also pleaded guilty to a similar charge at Ballyshannon Garda Station on April 14 last year.

And he pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of Xanax at the same venue and date, and both of these charges were struck out.

Gilmartin Gallagher also pleaded guilty to drug driving with high levels of cannabis and cocaine in his system at Ballymagroarty, Ballintra on the same date.

The defendant was fined €300 and banned from driving for a year on this charge.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving at Ballymagroarty, Ballintra on the same date.

The defendant was fined €200 and banned from driving for two years and this was a concurrent sentence.



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