Man avoids jail for driving over drunk person who walked into traffic

John Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to driving away from a car accident involving an injury, careless driving, and driving without insurance.
Man avoids jail for driving over drunk person who walked into traffic

Eoin Ryan

A man has received a suspended prison sentence for a hit-and-run in which he ran over a drunk man who had walked into oncoming traffic.

John Fitzpatrick (39) of The Gardens, Carrickmines Manor, Dublin, pleaded guilty to driving away from a car accident involving an injury, careless driving, and driving without insurance.

The court heard that the victim was intoxicated when he came out of a pub in Cork Street, Dublin on September 6th, 2019.

The victim told gardaí he remembers coming out of the pub to get the Luas but has no memory of what happened after that.

Eyewitnesses observed him walking towards oncoming traffic at the time of the incident.

A bus was seen swerving away from the victim as he was lying down in the middle of the road, the court heard.

Fitzpatrick was driving behind the bus and did not notice the man lying down on the road before he drove over the victim, a garda witness told Eoghan Cole BL, prosecuting.

Fitzpatrick was driving with his daughter, and she started screaming after the car hit the victim. The court also heard that Fitzpatrick was uninsured at the time.

Garda interview

John Staunton BL, defending, told the court his client drove away from the incident for these reasons, but subsequently came back on foot to make sure the victim was being cared for.

Fitzpatrick spoke to his father about the incident the next day and gardaí were called to his home. The accused went to a garda interview voluntarily and made full admissions, the court heard.

The accused told gardaí he went back to the scene because, "I couldn't live with myself not knowing if the guy was dead or not," the court heard.

Fitzpatrick has 45 previous convictions, eleven of which are for road traffic offences, including five convictions for not having car insurance, the court heard.

He also has a robbery conviction from an off-licence where he previously worked.

Judge Patricia Ryan sentenced John Fitzpatrick to two years and four months, but suspended it in full for three years. She disqualified Fitzpatrick from driving for 12 years.

Judge Ryan told the court Fitzpatrick gave good reasons for not staying at the scene. She also noted his full admissions of guilt.

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