Judge says man who led Gardaí in car chase was ‘a skilled driver’

Limerick District Court

A DRIVER who had no licence or insurance and drove the wrong way up three one-way streets while being chased by Gardaí “should have taken the test. He’s obviously a very skilled driver,” a Judge said.

Gardaí had to halt the chase of Niall Whelan (19), of 194 O’Malley Park, for fear of injury to other roads users, the Limerick District Court heard.

After being spotted driving in the city on November 4 last year by an unmarked patrol car, Mr Whelan took off and drove the wrong way three times up one-way streets and twice reversed the Lexus against the oncoming Gardaí, who had to take evasive action.

He overtook cars at traffic lights, driving in excess of 50km/h, the court heard.

The court heard that Gardaí stopped the chase because the streets were busy as it was the middle of the day and they feared an innocent party might be injured

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Mr Whelan pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving without a licence or insurance.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Patricia Harney said “he’s obviously a very skilled driver. He drove down one way streets without hitting anything and he put the fear of God in the Gardaí by reversing at them. Why doesn’t he have a licence? He would be well capable of passing the test.”

Mr Whelan’s solicitor told the judge that the accused man “fell in with the wrong crowd. He’s been extracting himself from that. He was aimless in his day to day routine and fell into criminality.”

“It was ridiculous, stupid behaviour, and he’s very sorry for it. He’s grateful no one was injured.”

Judge Harney disqualified him from driving for two years for dangerous driving and fined him €1,000.

She also fined him €500 and €100 for having no insurance and no driving licence respectively.