Man who made fun of Garda after crash fined and banned

April 25, 2022

A man who made fun of a Garda after fleeing the scene of an accident has been fined €300 and disquaiified from driving for two years.

Peter O’Donnell, aged 34, fled the scene of an accident on February 12th, 2021 after Gardai found a crashed BMW car blocking a road in West Donegal.

There was nobody in the car which smelled of drink and there were empty whiskey bottles and a bank statement ion the floor of the vehicle.

Gardai contacted the PSNI and they confirmed the car belonged to O’Donnell who had an address in Aberdeen in Scotland.

The MOT had expired since December, 2020 but no other car had been involved in the crash, Garda Sgt Niall Maguire told Falcarragh District Court.

He said it appeared the car crossed the centre line before hitting a banking on the far side, spinning 360 degrees and ending up on its own side of the road.

The front airbags were deployed with ‘medium to severe’ damage caused to the front of the car.

At 3.10am, Garda Maguire received a call to Falcarragh Garda Station from O’Donnell, who made light and fun of him.

“He was quite happy that he got away,” Garda Maguire added.

On 18 February, O’Donnell contacted GardaI to say that he wanted to get property out of the vehicle. Garda Maguire told O’Donnell that he wished to speak with him in person.

On February 19th at Falcarragh Garda Station, O’Donnell said he was driving from Bloody Foreland to Falcarragh to get food. He told Gardaí that he ‘spun out of control’, but did not know what had happened.

“I remember the airbag surrounding me,” he said. “I don’t remember how I got away but I remember getting a taxi home from Falcarragh.”

A lawful demand was made for the production of a certificate of insurance, a driver licence or learner permit and a certificate of road worthiness. These were not produced.

Judge Deirdre Gearty said she was ‘absolutely satisfied’ to convict O’Donnell on all matters.

She issued a bench warrant for his arrest for sentencing.

At Letterkenny District Court today, Gardai said they had arrested O’Donnell on Saturday night last in Brinaleck.

The court was told that O’Donnell has 24 previous convictions but the last was in 2007.

His solicitor Patsy Gallagher told the court  that his client is aged 35 years and wants to start a mechanical engineering course at Atlantic Technological University.

Mr Gallagher said this was a single vehicle accident and that nobody else was hurt in the incident.

He stressed that he has been in custody since last Saturday and it is not an experience he wants to repeat.

Judge Gearty fined O’Donnell €300 and disqualified him from driving for two years.