herald

Sunday 22 April 2018

Drunk driver injured three gardai in head-on collision

'The defendant, of Russell Court, Feltrim Road, Kinsealy, pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, drink-driving and driving without insurance or a driving licence at Bridge Street in Swords on December 22, 2016.' (stock photo)
'The defendant, of Russell Court, Feltrim Road, Kinsealy, pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, drink-driving and driving without insurance or a driving licence at Bridge Street in Swords on December 22, 2016.' (stock photo)

A fruit picker who was involved in a head-on collision with a patrol car in which three gardai were injured was nearly four times over the legal drink-driving limit.

Vitalijus Gorbaciovas (38) was driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the crash.

Judge Dermot Dempsey fined Gorbaciovas €1,100, sentenced him to four months in prison and banned him from driving for four years.

Three gardai who were in the patrol car at the time of the crash received minor injuries and were absent from work for a number of weeks, Swords District Court heard.

The defendant, of Russell Court, Feltrim Road, Kinsealy, pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, drink-driving and driving without insurance or a driving licence at Bridge Street in Swords on December 22, 2016.

The court heard the defendant, who has three young children, had a previous conviction for drink-driving, dating from 2010, when he was banned from driving for three years.

Garda Keith Delaney gave evidence that while he was on patrol on Bridge Street at 11.10pm, the defendant drove on the wrong side of the road.

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 "He was involved in a head-on collision with the patrol car. It was clear he was driving under the influence," said Gda Delaney.

He said the defendant failed a roadside breath test and gave a blood sample of 186mg/100ml. The legal limit is 50mg/100ml.

He said the other gardai received minor injuries.

Defence solicitor John Hennessy said the defendant, who works as a fruit picker on a farm doing sporadic working hours, regretted the incident.

"He apologises sincerely and he isn't driving any more," said Mr Hennessy.

Judge Dempsey asked; "Should he ever have been driving having no driving licence?"

Mr Hennessy said the defendant accepted that and added he was a family man.

Judge Dempsey remarked: "He is no family man if he is driving with a 186 reading and collides with any vehicle. What if kids were crossing the road and a lunatic like this was driving, with a previous drink-driving conviction too?"

Mr Hennessy said the defendant "fully understands the seriousness" of the charges and was willing to do community service work.

Judge Dempsey sentenced Gorbaciovas to four months in prison, saying he "hadn't learned his lesson".

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