Drunk driver’s night goes flat after garda suffers puncture

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Denis O'Driscoll, Ballysimon Road, appeared before Limerick District Court after he was charged in connection with an incident at University Hospital Limerick
A WOMAN who was nearly five times over the drink driving limit was apprehended by gardai after she pulled in to the roadside to help a plain clothes garda change his tyre.

A WOMAN who was nearly five times over the drink driving limit was apprehended by gardai after she pulled in to the roadside to help a plain clothes garda change his tyre.

Siobhan Cusack, 37, with an address at Pearce Avenue, Janesboro, parked at the side of the road of O’Donoghue Avenue, Janesboro on June 21 of last year, Limerick District Court has heard.

Garda Colm O’Shea, Henry Street station, had started duty at 9pm and was driving along the Childers Road when he became aware that the tyre of the rear passenger side was flat.

While he started changing the tyre on the Ford Focus, he saw a vehicle approaching and stopped behind the patrol car.

“A female got out, approached and was unsteady on her feet, as she walked towards us.

“She offered us assistance in changing the tyre, but I declined her offer. Garda O’Shea said he noticed a strong smell of alcohol emanating from her breath, and that her speech was slurred.

He said she returned and sat into the driver’s seat of her own vehicle, but he believed she would have been incapable of having proper control.

He said he approached the vehicle, told her he was arresting her, and noticed two dogs with her in the front seat.

While he was in plain clothes, he said he identified himself as a member of An Garda Siochana.

She got out of the vehicle, and sat next to the garda on a low wall beside the patrol car.

Garda O’Shea requested the assistance of another officer, Garda Barry O’Farrell of Henry Street, as he was unable to bring her to the station because of his flat tyre.

Garda O’Farrell arrived at the scene at approximately 10pm, and arrested the accused on suspicion of drink driving and conveyed her to Henry Street, while Garda O’Shea returned the vehicle to her address, and put her dogs in her house, before returning her car keys to the station.

A third garda produced to her a print-out of her breath test, showing 101mg of alcohol for 100ml of breath. The limit is 22mg/100ml of breath.

She was charged at 11.25pm, and after caution, that anything she said could be used against her in evidence, said: ‘Did anyone take a breath specimen from me?’ However, she claimed she said ‘Did anyone take a blood sample from me?’

Inspector Dermot O’Connor queried if a blood sample had been taken from her why would she say such a thing.

Solicitor Sarah Ryan said her client was co-operative with gardai at all times, but maintains that she was handcuffed unnecessarily while being put into the back of the van.

The defendant said she ‘clearly remembered being handcuffed because she had never been handcuffed before or arrested before’.

Gardai said she was very compliant, and they did not handcuff her, nor did they have any reason to do so.

Judge Marian O’Leary said she accepted the garda’s evidence that she was not handcuffed, and found her guilty. She was fined €500, with six months to pay and disqualified from driving for three years.