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02 Oct 2022

Drug-driver led Gardaí on high-speed chase in Donegal

St Johnston man (18) has been disqualified from driving for two years

Letterkenny courthouse

Letterkenny courthouse

An 18-year-old St Johnston man who performed dangerous manoeuvres in the course of a high-speed pursuit with Gardaí was found to be drug-driving.

Kai Houston of Legnathraw, St Johnston was disqualified from driving for two years.

Letterkenny District Court heard that Gardaí recognised a car parked at the Diamond in Raphoe.

The vehicle accelerated at Guest House End and through the Diamond at high speed towards William Street.

At William Street, Houston undertook another vehicle at big speed.

Continuing at high speed, Houston took a dangerous turn opposite the Raphoe Garda Station and travelled towards Ballindrait.

Sergeant Jim Collins told the court that there were other breaches of road traffic laws as Houston travelled sometimes on the wrong side of the road at high speed between Raphoe and Ballindrait.

Houston was arrested and a sample taken, which tested positive for the presence of cannabis.

Houston had no previous convictions, the court heard.

“All this at the tender age of 18,” solicitor for Houston, Mr Frank Dorrian remarked. “He had recently acquired his licence and he wasn’t accompanied, which caused him to take flight.

“He is an 18-year-old man who is a parent. He cherished his licence, he put great effort into obtaining it and now he has created this hazard for himself.

“He thought that the vehicle would be taken from him. A series of bad decisions followed one another.”

Judge Alan Mitchell said he could not consider reducing dangerous driving charges to careless driving. Judge Mitchell said the incident was aggravated by the fact that Gardaí were following Houston.

“A driving licence is a privilege, not a right,” Judge Mitchell told the defendant.

On two charges of dangerous driving, Houston was fined €100 each and given six months to pay. Judge Mitchell disqualified Houston from driving for a period of two years.

On the charge of driving under the influence of drugs, Houston was fined €100 and given six months to pay.

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