An extravagantly slow escapade of dangerous driving in West Cork saw a man crossing the centre white line 20 times and hitting the ditch on both sides of the road a total of five times.
The driver was sentenced to four years with the last year suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court for endangerment which was the most serious charge of the 14 charges to which he pleaded guilty.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said,
The judge also imposed a four-year jail term with the last year suspended. He said it was only by luck that the morning’s driving did not have more dreadful consequences.
30-year-old Daniel Culhane admitted all 14 counts on an indictment against him including four charges of dangerous driving and one of endangerment in the Enniskeane area shortly before Christmas.
Daniel Culhane who lives at an apartment at Owenahincha, Rosscarbery, County Cork, appeared for his sentencing hearing by video link from prison at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The most serious charge was one of endangerment whereby he created a substantial risk of death or serious harm at four locations around Enniskeane, namely, Dromovane, Teadies Lower, Murragh and Palaceanne.
Detective Garda Manus O’Donnell outlined the background to the spree of offences committed by Culhane on that day.
It started at 6.25 am on the morning of December 16, 2020, when he broke into the Supervalu in Dunmanway. When he was confronted by a member of staff he made a gesture in the shape of a firearm and left emptyhanded.
30 minutes later he took ten cans of alcohol at Kevin O’Leary’s on New Road, Bandon, and threw a few coins on the counter, ignored the member of staff telling him that he had not paid for the items, and he walked out with the beer.
By 10.25 am his driving had come to the attention of members of the public who recorded him on dash-cams. On the Bandon to Enniskeane road he crossed the centre of the road to his incorrect side 20 times and into the ditch on either side of the road on five occasions. At one stage Culhane drove continuously on the wrong side of the road and oncoming motorists had to take evasive action.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said Culhane’s eventual stopping in a driveway had the appearance more of an abandonment of the car than of parking. The judge viewed a short section of the driving which had been recorded on dash-cam by one motorist driving behind him.
In the end, members of the public held him down and boxed in his car with their own vehicles until gardaí arrived to arrest him. At this stage, the young man made threats to kill members of the public.
This driver appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court today and was convicted for Drink Driving and Dangerous driving among other offences. Received a 4 year prison sentence, with 1 suspended and has been disqualified from driving for 20 years. #SaferRoads #neverdrinkanddrive pic.twitter.com/pt6euaiJJX— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) February 15, 2021
Dermot Sheehan defence barrister said one of the guards who arrived on the scene said of Culhane, “He was shouting and roaring and threatening everybody.” Dermot Sheehan said the young man had been addicted to heroin around the age of 18 or 19 but had managed to clear himself of this and had no convictions between the years 2011 to 2018.
Unfortunately, he fell back into an alcohol addiction which gave rise to the spate of offences on December 16 last.
“People were understandably upset and got a fright on the morning. He apologises to the people, in particular to the man from Supervalu… He is conscious that what he has done is serious and what he has done is wrong. He was taking tablets and drinking at the same time,” Mr Sheehan BL said.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said the accused appeared to be out of control and “almost going extravagantly slow.” The judge referred to the fact that the accused produced a baseball bat from his car when he was cornered, and remarked, “Even in Enniskeane it is probably not a normal item to have in a car.”