‘Outrageous’ driver faces jail following high speed pursuit

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Christopher Curtin pictured at Limerick Courthouse in February 2012
A BENCH warrant was issued for the arrest of a young man who smashed through a barrier at the Limerick tunnel during a high speed pursuit.

A BENCH warrant was issued for the arrest of a young man who smashed through a barrier at the Limerick tunnel during a high speed pursuit.

Christopher Curtin, aged 19, of Salvia Court, Southill was convicted, at Limerick Court, of multiple road traffic offences relating to an incident on June 5, last.

Garda James Tierney of the divisional traffic corps said he stopped a Volskwagon Passatt being driven by the defendant at Coonagh West on the northern exit of the Limerick Tunnel for a speeding offence shortly after 3pm.

After speaking with the defendant, Garda Tierney said the vehicle then crossed the grass verge and took off at speed in the direction of Ennis.

He said the vehicle reached speeds of around 180kph and that it smashed a barrier at the toll plaza.

The court heard the defendant undertook traffic on the hard shoulder while driving at speeds in excess of 160kph.

At one point the vehicle left the N18 and while being driven by Mr Curtin down a narrow road in an attempt to evade capture narrowly missed two pedestrians who were pushing a buggy.

Mr Curtin then proceeded to drive around the back of a house near Cratloe where two young children were playing at the time.

Garda Tierney said both the pedestrians and the mother of the two children were “extremely traumatised” following the incident.

The court heard that Garda Tierney then ceased the pursuit for health and safety reasons but that the defendant was detected while travelling in a different car on the N18 less than an hour later.

Sergeant Donal Cronin said Mr Curtin, who has 37 previous convictions, was disqualified from driving at the time and was not insured.

After convicting the defendant in his absence, Judge O’Kelly described the incident as “the most outrageous piece of driving” and he said the actions of Mr Curtin had “exposed a number of totally innocent personS to extreme danger”.

He said the offence deserves a lengthy prison sentence and he issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr Curtin.