Driver panicked on seeing police car lights

A software engineer who “completely panicked” when he saw the lights of a police car flashing, has lost his licence for 18 months.

Niall Carey (27), of Cloghogue Road, Toome, was fined a total of £800 with a £15 offender levy for dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, failing to stop for police, failing to stop, failing to remain and failing to report a damage only accident.

District Judge Oonagh Mullan told Carey it had been an “extremely foolish incident” and he had shown a total disregard for other road users and put lives at risk.

Magherafelt Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday the charges arose out of an incident in the early hours of May 22 when police spotted and attempted to stop a car observed swerving onto the hard shoulder of Glenshane Road.

Prosecuting counsel said police activated blue lights and signalled for it to stop but it took off at speed and they failed to stop it. Later, in the Aughrim Road area, they came across the vehicle on its roof with its engine running. Counsel said there was no one in the vehicle but police found a wallet lying in the car which identified the defendant. They subsequently apprehended him walking along road with minor cuts and bruises and his clothes were wet and covered in mud. Carey provided a blood specimen which showed a reading of 99mls.

A defence lawyer said Carey had an impeccable record and was a young man who was now concerned that this incident could impact on his job. He explained Carey had been with friends and had a few beers and instead of stopping over he had decided to drive home.