James Morgan from Old Warrenpoint Road, Newry turned up hours later at Daisy Hill hospital after police had spent all morning searching for him.
At last week’s Banbridge Magistrates Court, Morgan pleaded guilty to failing to remain, stop and report, careless driving and obstructing a road.
He was fined a total of £250 and awarded six penalty points plus an offender’s levy of £15. Furthermore he was conditionally discharged for a year for obstruction of the road.
A PPS prosecutor explained how at 5.50am on 19 October last, police were informed of a one vehicle collision at May’s Corner near Rathfriland.
On arrival they found a Skoda car on its roof blocking the road.The car was substantially damaged and police had major concerns for the welfare of the driver.
Fire Brigade and Ambulance personnel joined police in searching for the driver but no one was located.
A major search was then organised including a helicopter, and police dogs.
Enquiries were made with family members and all the local hospitals. Eventually at lunchtime, Morgan presented himself at Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry when he told police he got a lift from the accident scene with a farmer to Kilkeel then made his way to the hospital by bus. He admitted that at no stage had he made contact with the emergency services.
Barrister Mr O’Hare said his client worked as a welder and was an industrious and hard working young man.
He said Morgan had been at a birthday party the previous evening in Dundalk and was on his way home when he lost control on a greasy road.
“He was knocked out in a field and when he came to, he was suffering from very serious head injuries.
He made his way to a local farmer and got a lift. He lost his phone and clearly if he had been of better wit, then he would have asked the farmer to call for help.”
The court heard that no other damage was caused during the accident and Morgan had collided into a grass verge.