A young driver led Gardai on a ‘dark pursuit” after switching off his lights and traveling the wrong way around roundabouts at speed in a bid to shake them off.
Ethan O’Neill appeared Buncrana District Court charge with six cases of dangerous driving.
The 21-year-old sped off when Gardai detective him driving at 87 kph in a 50kph zone at Ballymacarry in the early hours of October 4th last.
Gardai initially pursued the VW Passat which turned off its light and pulled in at the side of the road at Ludden.
However, Gardai spotted the car and O’Neill sped off again with its lights off.
Gardai followed it and the court was told that it took roundabouts on the wrong side, traveled on the wrong side of the road.
It traveled through Fahan, Bridegend and Burt before it finally crashed.
When Gardai arrived on the scene they found O’Neill in the driver’s seat and he had three passengers on board.
The court was told that O’Neill was not under the influence of any substances and that all his paperwork for the car was in order.
When Gardai asked him why he had fled he simply said he did not know.
His solicitor Frank Dorrian said “His mother told me that he panics at the slightest thing.”
The accused had been studying accountancy in Manchester but had dropped out of college and was now working in a fast-food outlet but planned to return to education.
Mr Dorrian asked for leniency for his client who was accompanied to court by his parents saying it will “never happen again.”
Judge Paul Kelly said he was ordering O’Neill, of Riverview, Ballykelly, Co Derry to undertake the Pro-Social Driving Course and instructed him to pay €250 towards the cost.
He added that he will show O’Neill leniency if he completes the course.