Bodybuilder who rammed Gardaí while high on drugs cocktail jailed for seven years

The Limerick Court Complex in Mulgrave Street

A BODYBUILDER who rammed Limerick Gardaí while high on a cocktail of cocaine and cannabis was today (Friday) jailed for seven years, with the final 12 months suspended.

Evan Toomey (27), of Oak Park, Ennis, County Clare, left two members of the Limerick Garda Roads Policing Unit, Garda Niall Deegan and Garda Alan Griffin, with life-changing injuries after ploughing a Mazda 6 car straight into their patrol vehicle, the Limerick Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Toomey, who was carrying an estimated €3,000 worth of drugs in the car, became spooked when a Garda patrol car pulled in beside him as he was parked up at the Crescent Shopping Centre on November 19, 2019.

Toomey reversed out of the area at speed, mounting a kerb before driving against the flow of traffic.

Pursued by the patrol car, Toomey overtook an ambulance on the wrong side of a blind bend in the road at Mungret.

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A Garda alert was dispatched to all patrol units to assist, and a second Garda patrol car joined the pursuit because the first patrol car “couldn’t keep up” with the Mazda, Gardaí told the court.

The Mazda continued through a housing estate before entering the Limerick tunnel, where it swerved across both lanes and drove through a toll barrier without stopping.

Garda Griffin and Garda Deegan, who had heard the Garda alert in their patrol vehicle, activated their blue lights and parked on Clonmacken Roundabout, in an effort to steer the Mazda away from the city centre and protect other motorists and pedestrians.

Garda Alan Griffin was left with life-changing injuries from the incident. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

The Mazda mounted the roundabout’s concrete island and smashed directly into the passenger side of the Garda vehicle, despite the Gardai having “left room” for the Mazda to safely pass by, prosecuting counsel John O’Sullivan BL said.

Mr O’Sullivan said Toomey “made no effort to evade the marked Garda vehicle, which was pushed across the roundabout into a sign”.

Toomey and another man, who was a passenger in the Mazda, ran from the wreckage and into a nearby housing estate before being arrested shortly afterwards.

Toomey initially denied to Gardaí that he was the driver of the Mazda, but later admitted he had been behind the wheel at the time after a forensic investigation of the car showed DNA on the driver’s airbag belonged to him.

Toomey, who had 89 previous convictions, also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and possession of cocaine and cannabis on the same date.

Toomey’s own barrister, Yvonne Quinn BL, described his behaviour as “disgraceful and appalling”.

She said he was “truly sorry” and that “drugs are at the root of his difficulties”.

Ms Quinn said Toomey had admitted he had been “under the influence of cocaine and cannabis at the time, he became paranoid and he panicked”.

Garda Griffin sustained two cracked ribs, a broken sternum, neck and shoulder tissue damage, and whiplash in the crash. He underwent surgery to have sections of two vertebrae in his spine removed.

He also developed post-concussion syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder, and will require further spinal surgery.

“I have been unable to complete the most simple of tasks, for example changing my child’s nappy or dressing him. Lifting my child and performing everyday tasks like playing with him were extremely difficult,” Garda Griffin wrote in his victim impact statement.

“I will never forget thinking my colleague was dead as he lay unconscious beside me. I will never forget November 19, 2019,” he concluded.

Garda Deegan regained consciousness after the collision, but continues to suffer pain in his neck, back, and shoulders.

He has also been left battling against post-traumatic stress disorder, “and I had to retrain my vision and balance”, his victim impact statement read.

“I genuinely thought that Garda Alan Griffin and I were going to die. There was no attempt by the driver Evan Toomey to take any avoidance action.”

Both Gardaí do not accept Toomey was genuinely remorseful.

In sentencing Toomey, Judge Dermot Sheehan said that “it was a deliberate and intentional act. He knew the Garda vehicle was occupied.”