Garda dragged 100m while clinging to drug dealer's car

Sligo Circuit Court (Image via Google Maps)
Sligo Circuit Court (Image via Google Maps)

A garda feared for his life as he was smacked in the face by stones while being dragged down a road as he clung onto a car being driven by a drugs suspect.

Sergeant John Walsh told Sligo Circuit Court that he seriously feared for his welfare as he was dragged toward a line of parked cars while he clung to the frame of the suspect's car.

As he left go of the vehicle to avoid hitting the fast-approaching cars, Sgt Walsh had to manoeuvre quickly to avoid a collision with an onrushing patrol vehicle that was chasing the suspect.

22-year-old Tommy Corcoran of Ard na Mara, Cartron Point, Sligo, pleaded guilty to a charge of endangering Sgt Walsh on April 19, 2013.

He further admitted to possessing cannabis on the same date, for the purpose of supply, according to the Irish Examiner.

Gardai, in possession of a warrant, were en route to Corcoran's home when they spotted him in a car.

After Sgt Walsh stated that he was going to conduct a drugs search, the court heard that the accused put the car into reverse before taking off "at some speed" while the garda clung on to the driver's window.

Having heard Sgt Walsh's victim impact statement, Judge Keenan Johnson remarked that the garda "could have been killed".

He went on to state that while gardai are frequent recipients of criticism, "some of it justified, a lot of it not justified", they put their lives on the line in carrying out their duty of protecting citizens.

The court heard that Corcoran abandoned his car before running into the mud flats at Sligo Bay, where he flung the majority of a bag's contents into the ocean. Approximately €200 worth of cannabis was seized by gardai.

Sgt Walsh told the court that he was still feeling the impact of the injuries he sustained on the day in question. The garda was out of work for two months following the incident, which affected both his job and leisure.

Sgt Walsh told the court that the defendant was in "a dark and dangerous place" due to drug use at the time, though it is his opinion that the man, who has two young children, has turned a corner in life.

The defendant told Sgt Walsh in court that he was "extremely sorry" after being forgiven by the garda. He was remanded in custody for sentencing on October 26.