A motorist under the influence of cocaine and cannabis and banned from driving took off at speed in a 15-minute dangerous driving escapade in and around Cork city until she crashed into a ditch.
Regina Scanlon of Feohanagh, County Limerick, hit speeds of 175 kilometres per hour and forced oncoming cars to take evasive action as she overtook cars and went through a junction at a red light.
Dennis Healy defence solicitor said the young woman had fallen under the influence of criminals in Limerick at that time but was now clear of drugs and keeping busy working on the family farm.
Judge Olann Kelleher imposed a suspended five-year sentence and a driving ban of six years on the 25-year-old.
Mr Healy said, “Her driving will be confined to driving a tractor on the family farm (and not on public roads).” The judge said he was influenced by medical reports on the young woman’s background and a probation report which described her as a low risk of reoffending.
Mr Healy, solicitor, said, “She is a changed girl. She was under the influence of some criminal elements in Limerick at the time. Now she does not do drugs, she does not drink. She was suffering from depression and these criminals in Limerick were giving her drugs.”
Sergeant John Kelleher said that at 3.40 p.m. on the afternoon of March 1 Garda Kevin Coholan was on patrol at Rathduff when he saw a Volkswagen Golf being driven erratically. Activating blue lights he indicated for the vehicle to stop but it proceeded to undertake the marked patrol car and accelerate away.
“Garda Coholan pursued at a safe distance with the assistance of other units in a pursuit that lasted 15 minutes and covered 20.6 kms.
“The Volkswagen travelled in the direction of Cork city. On the N20 at Lower Kilmona it travelled at speeds in excess of 135 km per hour in a 100 km zone, overtaking vehicles. It overtook two vehicles in the hatch markings.
“At Birch Hill it overtook another car on the continuous white line at speeds in excess of 155 km per hour. At Ballymartin it crossed a double continuous white line at speeds in excess of 140 km per hour. It travelled at speeds in excess of 175 km per hour at Ballynaraha, inbound towards the city.
“At Ballygibbon she undertook two vehicles in the hard shoulder at speeds of more than 160 km per hour. At the Ballyhooley Roadwhich is a 50 Km zone it travelled at speeds of more than 110 km per hour and then went through a red light at the junction by the Fox and Hounds Bar.” The sergeant said that throughout this 15-minute dangerous driving escapade it was overtaking at speed on blind corners while travelling out Ballyhooley Road, forcing oncoming cars to take evasive action. It eventually turned right on to a local road but due to its speed it collided with a ditch.
The driver provided a blood sample at Mayfield garda station and proved positive for cocaine and cannabis. The driver was disqualified from driving at the time due to penalty points for other matters.