Uninsured driver avoids jail after leading Garda on high-speed chase

Gary Ibbotson 17 Jan 2023

By Declan Brennan

An uninsured driver whose dangerous driving resulted in a high speed chase and crash which left his friend seriously injured has avoided a prison term.

Nathan Kiernan (21) told gardai after his arrest that he panicked when he saw a patrol car because he was driving the car with no insurance on the night of April 1, 2021.

Kiernan’s friend Jason O’Rourke was a passenger in the car and suffered serious injuries, including a ruptured bladder, a fractured pelvis and fractures to his pubic bones.

He spent several weeks in hospital and did not wish to complete a victim impact report, Garda Sergeant Trevor Curly said.

He said that gardai found Kiernan co-operative and pleasant to deal with after his arrest and that the car belonged to a neighbour of both men.

Sgt Curley told Judge Martin Nolan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Mr O’Rourke had made a full recovery and the two men are still friends.

Kiernan of Silloge Park Ballymun Dublin, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to Mr O’Rourke at St Margaret’s Road, Finglas, Dublin.

He also pleaded guilty to endangerment in relation to driving the car at high speed at a garda patrol car forcing the garda driver to take evasive action to avoid a crash.

Finally, he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, and driving a car without insurance or a licence.

Fiona Murphy SC, defending, said Kiernan was very remorseful.

After hearing evidence last July Judge Nolan ordered an assessment of Kiernan by the Probation Service.

He said driving in this manner was a serious matter and that Kiernan endangered himself, his passenger and other road users including gardai.

He told Kiernan that if he got into trouble again he will likely go to jail and remanded him on continuing bail.

He noted yesterday that Kiernan has no previous convictions and was deemed suitable by the Probation Service for community service.

He ordered that Kiernan carry out 200 hours of community service in lieu of a two year prison term.

Sgt Curly told Michael Hourigan BL, prosecuting, that at around 3am gardai in a patrol car noticed a silver Ford Focus car with two male occupants and with no headlights on.

The garda car flashed its blue light to get the car to pull over but instead the car was driven off at speed straight through a set of traffic lights, and later accelerating up to 80 kmph with the headlights still off.

The court head that three more patrol cars became involved in locating and pursuing the Ford Focus which broke red lights, drove up the wrong side of the road and drove at speed through junctions.

At one point Kiernan drove the car on the wrong side of the road at an estimated speed of 100 kmph.

He later was seen accelerating to 120 kmph as the car approached speed bumps.

When the car hit the speed ramp Kiernan lost control but continued driving at speed with the car sliding from side to side towards another speed ramp.

Mr Hourigan said the car was now “wildly out of control” and crashed into a traffic island before it careered into a tree on the passenger side.

Dublin Fire Brigade officers cut the driver and passenger out of the car and both men were hospitalised. The driver was treated for broken ribs, bruised kidneys and a crushed lung.

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