One-handed drunk-driver leads Gardai on 27km high-speed pursuit

January 21, 2021

A one-handed drunk-driver who led Gardai on a 27km pursuit across Donegal has been fined an disqualified.

Brian Daly, 30, drove through a Garda checkpoint before leading three pursuing Garda cars on a high-speed pursuit reaching speeds of more than 130kph.

However, officers were left stunned when they eventually stopped Daly to discover he had only one hand.

Defence solicitor Ciaran Dillon told Letterkenny District Court that Daly had lost his hand in a tragic workplace accident in 2013 when his hand caught in a machine.

The court heard how Daly had been staying in Kerrykeel on July 26th last year on holidays but had got into an argument and decided to go home.

He had already drunk a number of cans of beer but jumped into his car shortly before 7am and was met by a Garda checkpoint in the village of Milford.

He refused to stop for Gardai and sped off in the direction of Ramelton pursued by the Gardai.

Two other Garda cars joined the pursuit but could not catch Daly as he reached speeds of more than 130kph.

He performed a number of dangerous manoeuvres during the pursuit as he overtook cars on bends and on continuous white lines.

Other Gardai got in front of Daly and disabled his car by using a stinger device at Thorn Road in Letterkenny but he continued on flat wheels before being stopped at the Dry Arch Roundabout outside Letterkenny.

He was arrested, taken to Letterkenny Garda station where an alcohol reading of 44mgms was detected

Daly, from McCartney Park in Derry, appeared in court accompanied by his girlfriend.

His solicitor Mr Kieran Dillon told the court that losing his arm in a workplace accident in 2013 had had a major psychological effect on him.

However, he said he did not use his disability as an excuse.

Instead, it was because he made a series of bad decisions during an incident that was “failed to doom.”

Questioning Mr Dillon, Judge Paul asked if Daly was using a prosthetic hand when evading Gardai during the high-speed pursuit but amazingly was told he was not.

Passing sentence, Judge Kelly said he had every sympathy for what happened to Mr Kelly back in 2013 but described this incident as “incredibly dangerous.”

He added “It would have been dangerous driving for someone with full physical capacity but it is absolutely frightening that this happened while he had this particular difficulty,” he said.

He fined Daly a total of €500 and also banned him from driving for two years.