Man who drove stolen van at garda jailed for 12 years

Judge in Cork says John Paul O’Driscoll (27) guilty of ‘phenomenally dangerous driving’

The judge said John Paul O’Driscoll had been guilty of ‘phenomenally dangerous driving’. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

The judge said John Paul O’Driscoll had been guilty of ‘phenomenally dangerous driving’. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Thu, Jul 3, 2014, 17:47

A man who deliberately drove a stolen van while drunk at a motorcycle garda trying to divert traffic away from a garda pursuit has been jailed for 12 years for various offences.

John Paul O’Driscoll was guilty of “phenomenally dangerous driving” observed Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin as he imposed two consecutive terms totalling 12 years on O’Driscoll.

Judge Ó Donnabháin had been willing to suspend the final two years of the term but he rescinded it when O’ Driscoll shouted at him from the dock that he could “f*** off”.

O’Driscoll (27) had pleaded guilty to two counts of endangerment including one at Rathduff where Garda Michael Twomey was catapulted into the air after being struck by the van.

O’Driscoll also pleaded guilty to burglary, unlawful taking of a van, five counts of criminal damage and six counts of dangerous driving at various locations in Cork city and environs.

A native of Fairhill but with an address at the Simon Community, O’Driscoll also pleaded to drink driving, driving without insurance and without a valid driving licence on April 18th last.

A co-accused, Damian Fitzgerald (26) who pleaded guilty to burglary and allowing himself be carried in a stolen vehicle was given a four year jail term by Judge O Donnabhain.

Sgt Pat Lyons told Cork Circuit Criminal Court how O’Driscoll had stolen a van belonging to a workman when the man was collecting tools at MacCurtain Street in Cork on April 17th last.

O’Driscoll and Fitzgerald later broke into Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire in the early hours of April 18th where they stole a large quantity of drink which they had in the van with them.

They were sharing a bottle of Jack Daniels when they were spotted in the Passage West area by an off duty garda at 8.30am and there followed a high-speed pursuit through Cork city.

They went around the Finger Post roundabout in Douglas the wrong way trying to avoid gardaí, and went onto their incorrect side of the road at Rochestown Road and Douglas Road.

They hit a woman driving on Douglas Road, a parked car on Douglas Street, rammed a car at traffic lights on Parnell Place in the city centre where they also rammed a garda van.

They then took off against the traffic on Brian Boru Bridge and Brian Boru Street which are one way and went up Summerhill North before going against the traffic on Leitrim Street.

They hit five vehicles in all before heading out the Old Mallow Road where, exiting on the new Mallow Road, they spotted Garda Twomey trying to stop traffic and hit him.