A teenage boy driving a car loaded with stolen power tools reached speeds of almost 200 km/h after leading gardai on a chase before crashing into a lorry.
Dublin Children’s Court heard “it’s very, very lucky no one was killed” during the pursuit on July 13 last year, which commenced on the M50.
The boy, 17, was charged with five counts of endangerment of life, dangerous driving, being unlicensed, having no insurance, impeding arrest and possessing stolen property and a knife.
Garda Keith Nolan told Judge Paul Kelly today that traffic was heavy when the teen was spotted driving north.
Gardai saw him holding his mobile phone and signalled him to stop, but he kept driving up to 150 km/h in a 100 km/h zone and “cut across three lanes of traffic.”
He took the Ballymun exit “at last minute” and made an illegal turn at a roundabout. The boy drove over the traffic island and rejoined the M50 southbound on the hard shoulder at 160 km/h.
Garda Nolan said that the boy turned onto N2 at speed, and the garda pursuit vehicle was travelling at 185 km/h “and not gaining any distance on this vehicle”.
At Junction 2, The Ward, the teenager collided with the trailer of a 40-foot heavy goods vehicle, which disabled the car.
The teen, who has no prior criminal convictions, fled the car, jumped a fence and hid in bushes.
Gardai searched the car and found €9,369 worth of power tools belonging to four injured parties.
There were also different sets of number plates for the make and model of the car, along with the plates that were supposed to be on the vehicle. They also recovered two six-inch kitchen knives.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) urged the judge to refuse jurisdiction and transfer the case to the Circuit Court, which can impose lengthier sentences.
However, the boy pleaded with the judge to keep the case in the Children’s Court. His barrister said that the youth was a “vulnerable young man” who owed money and had been threatened by older, more serious criminals to transport the tools.
The defence said they took advantage of the boy, who was accompanied to court by his father.
In reply, the garda said the teenager did not divulge that and “made no comment” throughout his interview.
State solicitor Michelle Sheeran submitted that “his actions could have had catastrophic consequences, and it’s very, very lucky no one was killed”.
Judge Kelly noted the teen wanted to plead guilty but agreed with the DPP that the case must be dealt with at a higher level.
The boy, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, was remanded on continuing bail pending the preparation of a book of evidence. Legal aid was granted.
Reporting by Tom Tuite