A DRIVER who performed “donuts” at a crossroads while up to 15 cars blocked all four access roads has received a driving ban, writes Ronan Judge.
The “organised” drifting event occurred close to Lemenagh Castle near Corofin last November, Ennis District Court heard.
Judge Mary Larkin said of the incident, “This was an organised event. It was dangerous. There is no other way about it. It was dangerous.”
Garda James O’Donoghue told the court he and colleagues responded to a report of “boy racers drifting” near Lemenagh north, Corofin at around 1.45am on November 22, 2020.
The garda said he heard the “extremely loud noise” of screeching tyres at the scene. The garda said he exited the patrol van and observed two cars performing donuts at a crossroads.
He told the court the cars were surrounded by a group of up to 15 other cars that were blocking all access to the crossroads. A number of the people were standing outside their vehicles watching the two cars in the middle, he recalled.
Garda O’Donoghue said that as he approached the scene, one of the vehicles that had been performing donuts – a blue Toyota Altezza – made a “beeline” in his direction.
The court heard the car traveled in the direction of Corofin on the wrong side of the road.
Garda O’Donoghue confirmed to Sergeant Aiden Lonergan that the Toyota was brought to a stop by gardaí close to 15km away in Toonagh.
The driver of the car, Micheál Haugh (21), with an address at Station Road, Lahinch, was before the court charged with dangerous driving and driving a defective vehicle.
Defence solicitor, John Casey asked the court to consider a reduced charge of careless driving. Mr Casey said his client and fellow “car enthusiasts” were present on the night. He acknowledged these gatherings can be very “annoying”.
Mr Casey said the scene near Lemenagh Castle was not some Mondello Park-type event but was “in its extent, controlled”. The application was opposed by the State.
Sergeant Lonergan said the evidence in the case meets the standard for a dangerous driving prosecution. Judge Larkin said she would not reduce to the charge to careless driving.
“This was an organised event. It was dangerous. There was no other way about it. It was dangerous,” the judge added.
Mr Casey said the facts of the case had been heard and the matter could be finalised.
Judge Larkin fined Mr Haugh €100 and disqualified him from driving for two years. The court heard Mr Haugh may appeal the conviction in the circuit court.