27 Sept 2022

Jail sentence for Letterkenny man after car chase

Letterkenny courthouse

Letterkenny courthouse

A Letterkenny man who led Gardaí on a dangerous pursuit has been jailed.

Judge Raymond Finnegan told Letterkenny District Court that a message had to be sent out in the case of Dean Holian.

Holian (24) of Gleann Rua, Letterkenny, wept in court as Judge Finnegan sentenced him to three months imprisonment. Judge Finnegan said it was ‘pure luck and by the grace of God that someone wasn’t killed’.

At 8.27pm on February 12, 2021 Gardaí observed a silver Lexus enter a roundabout at Mountain Top, Letterkenny and exit in the direction of Calhame at speed, failing to indicate.

Gardaí saw the driver perform a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre, causing another vehicle to swerve into the verge.

Gardaí activated the blue lights and sirens, but the Lexus continued at speed through numerous town lands. Sergeant Gerard Dalton told the court that the car overtook three pedestrians ‘with no regard for their safety’.

The car continued on the wrong side of the road before Gardaí lost sight of the vehicle.

On May 1, 2021, Holian was arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

“It was a chase in every sense of the word,” Judge Finnegan said.

The pursuit lasted 10-12 minutes, the court heard.

Solicitor for Holian, Mr Kieran Dillon, said his client was a ‘young fan who wants to focus on developing his life’. The incident, he said, was sparkled by ‘traumatic events’.

“He has had time to reflect on the seriousness and he sees things in a different light,” Mr Dillon said.

“He wishes to apologise to everyone concerned.

“He is a young man who panicked on the day. If he had just stopped then he would be in less difficulty. The adrenaline was flowing and a series of wrong choices ensued.

“This is a blemish he has created for himself. He has tried to be pro-social in his life and he has a strong work ethic.”

Mr Dillon, pleading for leniency, said his client, who was accompanied by his partner to court, was ‘contributing to society’.

Judge Finnegan said he was concerned with the amount of people who had been placed in danger by Holian.

“It was pure luck and by the grace of God that someone wasn’t killed,” he said.

“The ship has sailed on a suspended sentence. A message has to be sent out. This cannot go on on the roads of Donegal. Too many lives have been lost due to irresponsible driving.”

Holian was also disqualified from driving for two years.

Recognisance for an appeal was set on Holian’s own bond of €100 and an independent surety of €500 in cash.

An appeal will go before the next sitting of Letterkenny Circuit Court in 2022.

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