Kilkenny Court House
A dangerous driving conviction has been handed down to a motorist who crashed into the side of another car while overtaking a line of vehicles.
Lee Ryan, 48 Killure Manor, Waterford, was charged with driving offences arising from two separate incidents, Kilkenny District Court heard. He appeared before Judge John Brennan by video link from prison.
Mr Ryan pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, driving while under the influence of an intoxicant and driving without insurance.
The first incident occurred on April 5, 2019, at Forrestalstown, Glenmore. Gardaí were called to a road traffic collision.
Sgt Morgan O’Connor said Mr Ryan had just exited a roundabout, driving a black Saab, and met a line of traffic. He overtook multiple vehicles at speed.
He then went to overtake again in what he said he thought was an overtaking lane. It was a hatched area going into a right turning lane.
A people carrier with five passengers was moving into the right turn lane and Mr Ryan’s car collided with the side of that car.
The two adults and three children in the people carrier were taken to hospital to be checked over. None had lasting injuries.
A second incident occurred on April 13, 2019. Garda Damien Rafter was on patrol in Inistioge.
He observed a black Volkswagen Passat travelling in the same direction, towards New Ross. The vehicle was being driven erratically, crossing the white line on numerous occasions.
Garda Rafter stopped the car and spoke to the driver, Mr Ryan. The garda got a strong smell of cannabis from the car. Mr Ryan was cautioned and asked had he smoked cannabis. Mr Ryan said he had, the previous evening.
The garda asked Mr Ryan if he was on any other drugs and he named four medications for depression.
The garda told the court that Mr Ryan’s hands were shaking and his speech was slurred. Garda Rafter formed the opinion Mr Ryan had committed an offence, and he was arrested.
At Kilkenny Garda Station an oral fluids test confirmed the presence of cocaine, cannabis and opiates. A blood test was positive for cannabis and benzodiazepines.
Sgt O’Connor told the court that Mr Ryan had 18 previous convictions.
Mr Ryan said he had bought the vehicle the previous evening and hadn’t transferred the insurance from his previous car. As he owned this car he was not insured to drive it.
Solicitor Chris Hogan said his client was in ‘technical breach’ of insurance regulations. He thought he was covered to drive because he had an insurance policy, but he hadn’t transferred it to the new car he had just bought.
Mr Hogan said his client apologised to the court and the occupants of the car for the accident on April 5.
Mr Ryan accepted his driving was unacceptable.
Mr Ryan, the solicitor said, is 28 and has a difficulty with intoxicants. He has been addressing this for the last two years with support services.
He is a qualified mechanic, with three young children, and has stayed out of trouble for the last two years, the solicitor added.
Judge Brennan said these were serious matters. The accident could have been far more serious.
The judge said he was concerned by the level of aggression in that offence but noted Mr Ryan was insured on that occasion, which was to his credit.
“If these matters were of a more recent vintage I would take a more serious view,” Judge Brennan said, noting they dated back 18 months. He said Mr Ryan is dealing with his issues and has children and responsibilities.
Judge Brennan noted the defendant had spent time on remand in prison which he hoped was chastening for him.
He said Mr Ryan has effectively served a sentence for this offence.
On the charge of dangerous driving Mr Ryan was convicted and fined €300. He was disqualified from driving for four years.
Mr Ryan was also convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs and fined €200. He was disqualified from driving for four years.
A disqualification of four years was imposed for driving without insurance.
“It is important that you take on your responsibilities, look for a job and deal with your issues,” Judge Brennan told Mr Ryan, warning him that if he finds himself back in court he will be looking at a custodial sentence.