A man who was found by Gardai slumped over the steering wheel of his car while “highly intoxicated” said he did not intend to drive it.
Cormac Feehan, 4 An Mhainistir, Fenagh, Co Leitrim appeared in Carrick-on-Shannon District Court on March 26 last charged with being in charge of an vehicle while exceeding alcohol limit on January 31, 2019 at Enagh, Croghan, Co Roscommon.
The reading was 104mcg alcohol per 100 mls of breath.
Mr Feehan said he wasn’t driving the vehicle that night. He said the car was stopped and the engine was running to keep the heat on as it was a cold night.
He said he had tried to ring for a taxi but couldn’t get one.
Mr Feehan said he had absolutely no intention of driving as he was physically unable to.
“I knew by the way I was feeling that I wouldn’t be able to,” he said.
His car was partially across the road and it was put to him by Inspector Emmet Treacy, prosecuting, that it was his intention to drive. Mr Feehan repeated that he wouldn’t have been able to drive.
Judge Kevin Kilrane, in response to defending solicitor, Gerry McGovern, said he was satisfied the opinion of the arresting officer was formed on the basis the defendant was attempting to drive and he found the facts proved.
Judge Kilrane said the facts of the case were that the defendant appeared to have driven to that point and couldn’t drive any further. He said the defendant was kind of awake or asleep when the Gardai found him. He was not pulled up properly on the road and the Judge said he was satisfied the defendant would have driven.
The court heard Mr Feehan is married with a young family and is employed as a car salesman and the loss of his licence would cost him dearly.
Judge Kilrane said he was very concerned about this case.
He described the reading of 104 as “quite shocking”.
“The legal limit is 22 and he was five times the legal limit,” the Judge said.
He said Mr Feehan was driving on a “very narrow and tortuous roadway at Croghan” and was effectively parked on the roadway and posing a huge danger to oncoming traffic.
The driver was slumped over the wheel and he was “absolutely highly intoxicated” that night.
Judge Kilrane said it was grossly irresponsible for him to be in charge or attempt to drive the vehicle.
He convicted and fined him €500, allowing five months to pay, and disqualified him from driving for three years.
A charge of driving without insurance on the same date was adjourned to April 20 next to allow the garda to ascertain if the vehicle was properly insured.
Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal.