A Derry man who covered himself in foliage in a ‘clownish attempt’ to evade police after a car chase, has been jailed and banned from driving.
James Doherty, 27, of Joseph Place, admitted charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, and driving when unfit through drink/drugs on May 16, 2016.
A Public Prosecution Service (PPS) representative said police suspected the defendant was driving a Vauxhall Corsa without insurance on the Glengalliagh Road.
He then went out of sight and police continued to patrol the area, eventually spotting him near Ballyarnett roundabout.
Police put their sirens on and pulled up beside the passenger’s window to get a clear view of the defendant and another man.
Doherty then ‘sped off’ in the direction of the Skeoge Road, the Public Prosecutor explained, and ‘narrowly missed oncoming traffic’.
The Corsa continued on down the Skeoge Road ‘towards the border’ driving at speeds in excess of 60mph ‘causing other vehicles to swerve’.
As the defendant entered Buncrana Road the Corsa swerved ‘in and out of traffic’ before mounting a kerb and crashing into a sign.
The PPS representative said that both men could then be seen exiting the vehicle and running into an adjacent field.
Police observed the men hiding under foliage, attempting to cover themselves in branches and leaves.
Defence Counsel Stephen Mooney told the court that his client ‘has spent the greater part of his adult life in custody’.
“It was a particularly egregious piece of driving and passes the threshold of immediate custody,” he added.
He acknowledged that Doherty was driving on the wrong side of the road and said it was ‘a particularly clownish attempt to evade police attention’.
However, he said there was no verbal or physical abuse directed at officers and the 27-year-old pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
District Judge Barney McElholm imprisoned the defendant for three months, fined him £500, and disqualified him from driving for a period of fifteen months.
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