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17 Aug 2022

Man drove car in chase “like an episode of Gran Turismo”

Carrick-on Shannon man facing jail term if he re-offends

Carrick-on-Shannon District Court

A Drumshanbo man pleaded guilty to six counts of dangerous driving in what the judge called “a frightening episode.”

Samual Flynn, aged 23, from Aughriman, Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim pleaded guilty to six counts of dangerous driving on July 27, 2020, at Priest’s Lane, Carrick-on-Shannon, at Leitrim Road, Carrick-on- Shannon, at Grange, Carrick-on-Shannon, at Fawn, Leitrim Village, at Tullylannon, Leitrim Village and at Cloonmore Upper, Drumkeerin.

Two other charges of dangerous driving at Mullaghcashel, Drumkeerin and Modarragh, Drumkeerin were withdrawn and struck out.

Sgt Gerry Curley outlined the facts to the court. He said at 12.25am on that date an off duty member contacted Carrick-on-Shannon Station to report a blue Peugeot 407 driving the wrong way on the one-way system at Priest’s Lane in Carrick-on-Shannon.

The car proceeded out the Leitrim Road and was driving erratically. The back doors of the car opened and closed a number of times.

Followed by the off duty member, the car turned off the R280 onto the R209 Ballinamore road. It then turned left at Fawn and into Tullylannon, Leitrim Village, connecting back with the main road in Leitrim Village.

The back two doors of the car opened and the passengers gave the two fingers to the off duty member.

It continued towards Drumshanbo and then took a sharp left turn onto the Drumkeerin-Manorhamilton road.

The back doors of the car again swung open and closed.

The car turned left for Arigna and pulled in at the church, disappearing from the member’s sight before reappearing again.

Meanwhile, Gardai arrived from the Drumkeerin direction heading towards Carrick-on-Shannon and came across the Peugeot travelling towards them.

They signalled for it to stop but it failed to do so and took a right turn for Dowra, travelling in excess of 80kph on a narrow country road. The conditions were poor at the time and it was raining heavily.

At one stage the vehicle became visibly airborne as it crossed a small bridge. It later crashed into an eir pole. The driver and two passengers made their escape while gardai apprehended another passenger.

Later that day Samual Flynn presented himself at Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station saying he was the driver. All his documents were in order. He had no previous convictions.

Solicitor, Peter Collins, said a number of things conspired against his client that night. He said the new one-way system in Carrick-on-Shannon had just come into effect and there was a lot of confusion at the time. Mr Flynn didn’t realise he was doing anything wrong.

He also said there had been an altercation between Mr Flynn and his friends and another group of people and when they saw a vehicle behind them flashing its headlights they thought they were being chased by the other group.

Mr Flynn, who was 21 at the time, said he panicked and was getting advice from some in the car to stop and from others to keep going.

He was attending University of Limerick at the time and has received a Degree in Construction Management Engineering and is working in Dublin.

Mr Collins said this incident was “seriously out of character” for Mr Flynn. He works in Dublin but lives at home in Drumshanbo where he rents land and rears cattle and sheep.

He described it as “a very serious aberration” and asked the judge to treat it as one continuous incident and be as lenient as possible.

Judge Sandra Murphy described it as “a very, very serious incident” and said the persistent nature of the chase was really irrelevant.

“It was like an episode of Gran Turismo (video game). He was treating the car as if it was not real,” she said.

“He is a young man and young men unfortunately behave like this, but that’s no excuse,” she added.

Mr Flynn said that if he loses his licence then his career is over.

Judge Murphy replied that once he had pleaded guilty there was a mandatory disqualification and she had no control over that.

“This was a frightening episode,” she remarked, and remanded Mr Flynn on continuing bail to October 18 next to allow him to carry out a pro-social driving course and said she would finalise the matter then.

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