A YOUNG man has been jailed for his role in two separate high speed garda chases.
Michael Fitzgerald, aged 21 of Cloghnadromin, Ballysimon pleaded guilty at Limerick District Court to dangerous driving and driving without insurance and tax at two different locations in Limerick last year.
Fitzgerald was sentenced to a total of 15 months in prison and banned from driving for 15 years.
The court heard that Fitzgerald, who had 39 previous convictions and was disqualified from driving at the time, “took off at high speed” on May 12, 2012 when approached by an unmarked patrol car on Collins Avenue, narrowly avoiding a motorist.
Gardai observed the black Honda Civic Fitzgerald was driving cross through Roxboro Road roundabout at high speed in heavy traffic, before driving down the centre of the road at high speed and continuing out to Bawnmore, Donoghmore and Bohermore, before they abandoned pursuit.
At a separate incident in John Street on July 4, Fitzgerald was stopped again by a garda patrol. The court heard that he again took off at high speed, hitting a parked car and mounting a kerb in the process.
When informed of Fitzgerald’s previous record, Judge Eugene O’Kelly said “no wonder this young man thinks he can get away with a complete flouting of the law”. Insp Brendan McDonagh told the court that the offences were “very high” on the scale of dangerous driving.
Solicitor John Herbert said on both occasions his client had made the “on the spot decision” to flee from the gardai. He said Fitzgerald came from a family “known to be hard workers”.
In reply the judge said that the “problem is that he is putting his hands on the wheel rather than his shoulder (to it)”.