SERIOUS injury was avoided when a man rammed through a Garda checkpoint after a 25km pursuit in Donegal today.
Five cars, including two Garda cars, and a building were damaged when the man tried to power his way towards the Donegal-Derry border in the village of Muff.
The car crashed to a stop a few hundred yards from the border, where Michael Ward was arrested.
Ward (27), of Drumleck, Shantallow, Derry, was brought before a special sitting of Letterkenny District Court on Sunday evening.
After being alerted to a car being driven erratically in north Inishowen, Gardaí mounted a pursuit between Carndonagh and Quigley’s Point.
Ward took off at speed before crashing as he attempted to evade a checkpoint at Main Street, Muff shortly after 2.30pm.
Ward ploughed through the checkpoint, colliding with two patrol cars and three other cars in the process. Damage was also caused to a building in the incident.
“We were very lucky that no-one was badly hurt,” arresting Garda Kenny Merritt told the court.
“He attempted to drive through the checkpoint and took three other cars with him. There will be a substantial cost for the damage.”
Ward tried to take off on foot, but was quickly arrested by Gardaí.
“It was pure luck that no-one was in the cars,” Inspector Paul McHugh told the Court in objecting to bail.
“He drove into stationary vehicles while trying to flee.”
Gardaí also objected to bail due to a previous bench warrant, issued in 2013 and not executed until 2017.
“The length of time suggests that he made no effort to address it, Inspector McHugh said.
“These charges resulted in him fleeing for the border.
“He has already tried to flee the jurisdiction. He was apprehended not because he stopped, but because he crashed 500 metres from the border.”
Ward was charged with three counts of dangerous driving at Carrowkeel, Quigley’s Point, at Ardmore, Muff and at Main Street Muff. Ward was further charged with drink driving at Main Street, Muff. Ward made no reply to each of the four charges.
One male was treated at the scene for their injuries and the Main Street in the border village was closed for a time.
The accused’s partner and sister were present in court.
Solicitor Mr Rory O’Brien asked the court to give his client, a landscape gardener, credit ‘and a chance to prove that he will answer the bail conditions’.
Mr O’Brien said: “He has supportive family members, who will ensure that, if he is granted bail, he will come back on any occasion.”
Judge Paul Kelly refused bail and Ward was remanded in custody to appear via video at Buncrana District Court on Tuesday, April 27.