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Drink driver hit woman while fleeing checkpoint

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A drunk driver who drove into a pedestrian while trying to avoid a garda checkpoint has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Darren Kershaw (45), of Cherry Orchard Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious harm at Landen Road, Ballyfermot, on June 19, 2018.

Kershaw also pleaded guilty to failing to remain at the scene and driving over the legal alcohol limit, both on the same date.

Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Elma Sheahan said the court viewed Kershaw's culpability as being high. She noted that the majority of his 11 previous convictions were for minor road traffic offences.

Judge Sheahan said the mitigating factors were his plea of guilty, his full co-operation and genuine remorse, his substance addictions and his efforts to rehabilitate, including abstaining from alcohol since the offence and more recently abstaining from drugs.

She sentenced Kershaw to four-and-a-half years imprisonment, but suspended the final 12 months on strict conditions, including that he remain drug and alcohol free.

At an earlier sentencing hearing, Detective Sergeant Brian Hoey told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that patrol cars began following the accused after he did a U-turn just before the Ballyfermot checkpoint.

Dt Sgt Hoey said that the car had mounted the pavement as it attempted to turn onto Landen Road, where it knocked down a set of traffic lights before striking Ranyfrancia DaSilva, a Brazilian national, who was walking home from a restaurant with her husband. The car did not stop but was unable to be driven much further because of the damage it suffered.

Panicked

After he was arrested, Kershaw claimed he'd had "a few cans of Heineken" as well as two pints in a pub and had panicked when he saw the checkpoint.

Ms DaSilva was knocked unconscious by the vehicle, suffering multiple skull fractures and injuries to her back.

The victim continues to suffer dizziness, headaches and disturbed sleep and has been unable to work since.

Det Sgt Hoey agreed with Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, that the defendant had consistently expressed his remorse and accepted responsibility for what happened to his victim.

Mr Dwyer said the defendant, a father-of-five who works as a stage construction worker, suffers from depression and cries when he thinks of how he had dramatically changed his victim's life.