Newmills man who collided with motorist during Garda pursuit is banned

April 10, 2024

A Newmills man who drove the wrong way up a road and then collided with another vehicle while trying to evade Gardai has been put off the road for two years.

Darren Hegarty appeared before Letterkenny District Court on a number of charges.

Garda Sergeant Gerard Dalton told the court that Gardai were on patrol in Letterkenny on July 9th, 20023.

At 12.55am they were driving along Pearse Road when they noticed a Volkswagen Passat car parked up with one male in the vehicle.

Gardai carried out an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (AMPR) reading on the car and discovered that it did not have a current NCT.

Upon seeing the Gardai, the driver sped off but traveled the wrong way along the Pearse Road and drove at speed towards Oldtown.

At the Oldtown Roundabout the car collided with another vehicle and then sped off.

Gardai made enquiries and Hegarty (aged 35) of Doon, Newmills, was arrested and questioned at Letterkenny Garda Station on July 31st.

During interview it transpired that Hegarty did not have a license and was not insured to drive the car.

Hegarty was charged that on July 9th, 2023, at Pearse Road, Letterkenny, he did drive a vehicle in a manner (including speed) which having regard to all the circumstances of the case (including the condition of the vehicle, the nature, condition and use of such place and the amount of traffic which then actually was or might reasonable be then there expected to be therein) was dangerous to the public or was likely to be dangerous to the public.

The charge was Contrary to Section 53 (1) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961.

The court was told that Hegarty had some previous convictions for road traffic offences but they were of “some vintage” and went back to 2008.

Hegarty’s solicitor, Mr Rory O’Brien, said that on the night his client had engaged in “a gross error of judgement” by leaving the scene.

He told the court that Hegarty suffers from a number of significant personal difficulties which has been a feature of his life for the past two to three years following a life event.

A letter from his partner and a doctor were handed into court to this effect.

Mr O’Brien added that while his client is not working, he has done so and a letter of reference from a groundworks was also handed into court while it was noted that Hegarty is also a carer for his two children.

He added that he realised his client’s liberty was at risk but suggested a probation and welfare report would be of significance to the court.

Hegarty accepted the loss of his driving license and Mr O’Brien also suggested that community service may be an option.

The court was told that there was “slight damage” to the other car but that Mr Hegarty was prepared to pay for that as he did not ant to see the other party “out of pocket.”

Judge Eiteain Cunningham said she was fining Hegarty €200 and banning him for two years on the charge of dangerous driving.

She adjourned the rest of the matter until July 8th to allow for a probation and welfare report to be compiled on Hegarty.