An intoxicated motorist who had “gardai chasing him around County Limerick” had reacted badly to breaking up with his long-term partner, Limerick District Court has heard.
David Butterfield, 24, of Avonmore Road, Raheen, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving while intoxicated in the early hours of last Saturday morning.
Sgt Niall Flood, Rathkeale Garda Station, said that at 2.40am, gardai had tried to stop the driver of a silver Volkswagen Passat in Rathkeale. Mr Butterfield had attempted to evade gardai by reversing up Cross’ Lane, hitting a wall and a parked car. He had reversed out onto The Square, where he hit another wall before taking off. Sgt Flood said Mr Butterfield was eventually stopped at Cloonaduff, Patrickswell, and arrested on suspicion of drink driving. A sample of his breath read 53mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
Solicitor Darrach McCarthy said what had occurred on January 19 was “a very unusual sequence of events for a young man who has only one very minor previous conviction”.
“He was in a long-term relationship that came to an end earlier that day. He doesn’t drink but his reaction at the ending of the relationship was to have a few drinks with a younger sibling. He took the car out for a drive for reasons that he can’t explain,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Sheer panic took hold of him” on seeing gardai as he knew he was under the influence. He had decided to take flight and events had “snowballed”.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told that Mr Butterfield had insurance and none of the parties injured as a result of his driving would face a loss.
“Here is a man whose only previous time before the court was for parking in a foolish manner and who has upped that in such a way as having the gardai chasing him around County Limerick,” said Judge O’Kelly.
However, credit was due for Mr Butterfield’s early plea and “the forthright manner in which he has dealt with it now he has sobered up”.
He was fined €500 and disqualified from driving for two years for dangerous driving at Cross’ Lane.
A mandatory two-year driving ban was imposed for drink driving.