Judge Elizabeth MacGrath was told that Mr Zangat drove up to the Limerick Tunnel where he did a u-turn and then drove back on the southbound carriage in the wrong direction
A DRUNK motorist drove 28 kilometres on the wrong side of the M7, hitting 130km/h at one stage, Nenagh District Court was told.
Kenyan national Sidney Zangat, with an address at 603 Windmill Apts, Dock Road, Limerick, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, drink driving and driving without insurance on November 30, 2105.
Judge Elizabeth MacGrath was told that Mr Zangat drove up to the Limerick Tunnel where he did a u-turn and then drove back on the southbound carriage in the wrong direction.
Gardai with their blue light flashing attempted to get Mr Zangat to stop, but he wouldn't.
A garda patrol car followed him on the opposite side of the meridian, hitting 130km/h at one stage in the pursuit.
The defendant eventually pulled into a truck lay-by at Newport at 5.35am where the Gardai arrested him on suspicion of drink driving.
A subsequent reading showed Mr Zangat had 158mgs of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
It also transpired that Mr Zangat had no insurance.
Judge MacGrath was told the chase had started at 5am.
Solicitor David Peters, for Mr Zangat, said his client was 29 years old and originally came from Kenya. He was married to a Polish woman and they had one child.
“What he did was inexcusable. It is lucky nobody was hurt,” said Mr Peters, who revealed that his client may now face deportation because he would have a criminal conviction.
Explaining the circumstances around the incident, Mr Peters said: “His wife went to visit friends in the UK and he was invited to a party. He made the decision to take the car. He can’t explain his actions.”
The solicitor described Mr Zangat as a “very quiet, courteous gentleman”.
Appealing for leniency, he told the court that a jail sentence would lead to problems having the couple’s child cared for and Mr Zangat’s wife would have to give up her job.
In mitigation, Mr Peters said motorway exits were “not obvious if you are on the wrong side of the road”.
Judge MacGrath accepted that the options of getting off the motorway were “limited” if you were on the wrong side, but said it was a “very serious offence”.
“Thankfully, nobody was put at risk," she added.
She jailed Mr Zangat for six months, which suspended for two years on his own bond of €500, for dangerous driving.
She fined him €250, with a three-year disqualification for drink driving, and fined him €150, with a two-year disqualification for driving without insurance.