A HIGH profile criminal who drove at “grossly excessive” speeds on the wrong-side of the Southern Ring Road while being pursued by gardai has been jailed for three years.
Liam Keane, 35, of Singland Gardens, Ballysimon, had admitted a charge of endangerment as well as multiple road traffic charges arising from an incident on April 13, 2016.
The pursuit on the northbound carriageway of the N18 began shortly after 7pm when gardai were alerted to a Mercedes car which failed to stop in the John Carew Park area of the city.
Detective Garda Dean Landers told Limerick Circuit Court Mr Keane drove the wrong way up a slip road near the Maldron Hotel and that he reached speeds of more than 180km/h while traveling in the direction of the Limerick Tunnel.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said there was such a high risk of a collision occurring that members of the armed Regional Support Unit drove along the hard shoulder in an effort to alert oncoming traffic to the danger.
A number of vehicles had to take evasive action to avoid the Mercedes and a married couple sustained soft-tissue injuries after their car was clipped.
While the pursuit was stopped for safety reason when Mr Keane exited the dual-carriageway, he was arrested near his home a number of hours later.
Detective Garda Landers said the accused, who has more than 50 previous convictions, cooperated with gardai and admitted he was the driver of the Mercedes.
He told gardai the car belonged to an associate of his and that he was “test driving” it when he first encountered gardai.
Mark Nicholas SC said Mr Keane knew he was not insured to drive the Mercedes and that he “panicked and took off” when he saw the gardai.
He told Judge Tom O’Donnell Mr Keane was “not out of prison long” at the time and that the road layout had “completely changed” while he was serving a lengthy sentence for a firearms offence.
Imposing sentence, the judge said the defendant’s driving was appalling and that he had reached outrageous speeds. “It was a very serious incident. He is extremely lucky there was not a serious accident or a fatality,” he said.
Mr Keane was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving four ten years.