A MAN whose recklessness behind the wheel “could have caused significant suffering and loss to totally innocent people” has been sentenced to five months in prison by Judge Eugene O’Kelly.
Michael Fitzgerald pleaded guilty at Limerick District Court to a number of traffic offences arising from a car chase on the southside of the city on July 15, 2012.
Fitzgerald, 21, of Cloughnadromin, Ballysimon, was recognised by gardai as the occupant of a car officers had signalled to stop at West Singland Road, Garryowen, at around 7.20pm on that date, Sgt Donal Cronin said.
The accused had instead drove on, continuing on to Greenhills Road and Mulgrave Street at speed and forcing fellow motorists to swerve to avoid a collision.
Fitzgerald had then driven the wrong way up Bengal Terrace, a one-way street, before careening around the Kilmallock Road roundabout where other drivers again had to take evasive action, Sgt Cronin said.
Fitzgerald had abandoned the car at Bawnmore Road and fled on foot. He was arrested by gardai the following day, Sgt Cronin said.
The accused had been disqualified from driving for two years for driving without insurance in October 2011.
Sgt Cronin said it was the gardai’s “firm belief” that this road ban was the reason why Fitzgerald had failed to stop when requested on July 15 last.
“Fear of what lay ahead” was why his client had taken off on the day, Fitzgerald’s solicitor John Herbert said. He explained that the car had been taken into custody and searched and that “nothing was discovered in it to give rise to further charges”.
Judge O’Kelly sentenced Fitzgerald to five months in prison and disqualified him from driving for eight years for driving with no insurance.
An eight-year ban and a concurrent term of five months in prison were also imposed on one count of dangerous driving at Bengal Terrace with the other offences taken into consideration.