By David Raleigh
A motorist who ploughed into pedestrians in Limerick City last year, has been jailed for nine years with the final two years suspended, and also given a 15 year driving ban.
Chloe McNamara, (21), of Sarsfield Gardens, Moyross, Limerick, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to assist a pedestrian at the scene of a road collision, endangerment, assault causing harm, intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm, dangerous driving.
Ms McNamara who admitted having consumed drugs and alcohol on the night, was given a consecutive eight-month sentence at Limerick Circuit Court, last Tuesday, after pleading guilty to possession of €3,300 worth of cannabis for sale or supply, however she has already served this sentence through time already spent in custody.
A number of pedestrians were seriously injured in the hit and run in the Cornmarket Row pub and nightclub quarter of Limerick City, last October.
After mounting a footpath and ploughing into pedestrians, McNamara immediately left the scene in a red Audi A4 she had purchased for €500.
Gardaí played video footage of the attack at a sitting of Limerick District Court, last June.
Gardai said the CCTV footage showed Ms McNamara, who was on bail at the time for other offences, driving into a group of pedestrians from behind and leaving the scene.
The video footage also showed a number of pedestrians being flung into the air as she struck them with the Audi.
Ms McNamara was in custody since last October when she was previously refused bail after a judge heard gardai give evidence that she was a flight risk, and that gardaí feared she would intimidate witnesses.
Garda Patricia McCormack, Henry Street Garda Station, told the bail hearing that gardaí responded to a report of a “hit-and-run road traffic collision” at Cornmarket Row, Limerick City, at 1.10am on October 10, 2021.
Garda McCormack said paramedics were already at the scene treating three injured pedestrians who were “lying on the road”.
She said the three pedestrians were taken by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick, including a man who sustained “serious head and spinal injuries” as well as two women who sustained “serious neck and back injuries”.
Another female pedestrian presented herself at UHL for injuries sustained in the hit-and-run.
Garda McCormack said the CCTV footage showed a red Audi A4 entering Cornmarket Row at 1.03am and the area was busy with “a large crowd of people out socialising, and the red Audi can be seen hitting and knocking down three pedestrians”.
Gardai discovered the red Audi 15 minutes later at Knockalisheen, situated on the outskirts of Moyross.
The Garda witness said “there was blood visible on the front windscreen and bonnet of the car”.
Garda McCormack told the bail hearing that she believed Ms McNamara was “a danger to the community”, that she had “no concern for other people”.
“She is a danger to the people of Limerick City. She is addicted to cannabis and it is my belief that this will lead to her committing further serious offences, and, gardaí are concerned that she will intimidate witnesses in this case if she is granted bail.”
Imposing sentence Judge Tom O’Donnell agreed with State prosecutor John O’Sullivan BL, that Ms McNamara had used her car as “a weapon”, and the judge said the victims had “no chance” on the night.
Ms McNamara told gardai she had wanted to drive into a person she claimed had “battered” her car on the night, however Gardaí said there was no evidence to back up this claim.