herald

Thursday 22 August 2019

Boy (16) 'flew through junctions' at 240kph to evade gardai, court told

Trams were slowed as the boy allegedly drove on tracks
Trams were slowed as the boy allegedly drove on tracks

A troubled 16-year-old Dublin boy accused of reaching speeds of 240kph as he was chased by gardai after stealing his mother's car has been remanded on continuing bail.

The terrifying pursuit ended when the teen, who was allegedly followed by a garda helicopter, collided with an armed response vehicle.

The boy, who cannot be named, appeared at the Dublin Children's Court yesterday where his case was adjourned for three weeks.

He was charged with motor theft, dangerous driving, endangerment of life and driving without a licence or insurance after taking his mother's car from their south Dublin home on November 14, 2018.

Garda Colum Smyth, of Rathmines Garda Station, had earlier told Judge Brendan Toale that he was alerted about a car theft at the boy's home.

He went there and took a statement from the teen's mother.

During a pursuit, her car was spotted at junction 10 on the M50 but it was lost by gardai. It was detected again at about midnight on the N81 in Tallaght.

Gda Smyth said he passed the car at the Blessington Road as it was travelling in the opposite direction. It was going at 40kph but "took off at high speed" onto Luas tracks at Citywest.

Alerted

The boy was pursued along the tracks as Luas controllers were alerted to slow down oncoming trams.

The teenager left the tracks and later sped along the N7. By his own admission, he was driving at 220-240kph, the court was told.

Gda Smyth was told the teen "came close to colliding with other vehicles" and a helicopter from the Garda Air Support Unit "struggled to keep up".

The chase ended when the car collided with a Garda Armed Response Unit vehicle on the N7. The boy was taken to hospital after being deemed unfit for interview.

Gardai questioned him later and during this interview the boy made admissions.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has recommended the case should be sent forward to the Circuit Court which has tougher sentencing powers.

Defence solicitor Brian Keenan asked the judge to note his client was offering to plead guilty and understood his driving was unsafe.

The boy, who had no prior convictions, admitted in his statement that he "flew through junctions" and could have killed someone.

The court also heard the youth had been affected by traumatic experiences and health problems in early childhood that had a "devastating" impact on his development.

He was also hospitalised last year after having suicidal ideation for a number of years.

The boy had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. The court heard that he did not do well in the Junior Certificate and in his childhood his parents had given him "the best of everything".

His mother and father did not want to see him sent to a detention centre, the solicitor said.

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