Passenger in stolen car filmed high-speed garda chase on Snapchat
A backseat passenger in a stolen car recorded a high speed garda chase on his phone for Snapchat, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.
The driver of the Nissan Micra, Brandon Grant (19), was sentenced to 18 months in prison with final nine months suspended. He was on bail for 14 offences when he drove dangerously around the Swords area causing pedestrians to jump out of his way and other motorists to brake heavily.
The pursuit came to an end when Grant lost control of the vehicle on the icy roads and crashed into a pole. The car was written off and he was arrested at the scene.
Grant of Killkee House, Clare Hall Apartments, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to driving a stolen car in Mount Ambrose, Swords and two charges of dangerous driving on January 14, 2016. He has 25 previous convictions including five for driving or being a passenger in stolen cars.
Judge Melanie Greally said Grant drove the Micra in a “highly, highly” dangerous manner for an extended period of time.
“In the course of its journey he exposed a considerable number of both motorists and pedestrians to serious injury or fatality,” the judge continued.
She said the fact that Grant was on bail for other road traffic offences at the time made the crime more serious.
Judge Greally noted that a probation report concluded that Grant's substance abuse and family difficulties were the primary cause of his offending behaviour.
She suspended the last nine months of the sentence on condition that he engage with the Probation Service for 12 months. Grant was also disqualified from driving for five years.
Garda Conor Tumbleton told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that he spotted the Nissan Micra at 9.35 that night and believed the driver was acting suspiciously. He indicated the man to pull over the vehicle but instead the driver took off at speed through Swords village.
Grant continued to drive at high speed and entered a junction on the wrong side of the road causing other motorists to brake hard. He turned right at the next junction, ignoring a stop sign, forcing pedestrians to jump out of the way.
He continued through the general area, again driving on the wrong side of the road and the wrong way around roundabouts, while being pursued by the gardaí.
Gda Tumbleton said at one point Grant narrowly avoided a collision with another car and the garda confirmed that had an accident occurred, he would have caused serious damage.
It was at this point that he started to struggle to keep the car on the road and the rear of the vehicle was starting to lose traction. It ultimately left the road and struck a wooden ESB pole.
Gda Tumbleton said a youth sitting in the back of the vehicle had recorded the chase on Snapchat.
Ray Boland BL, defending, said there was a positive probation report before the court. He said his client had abused both drink and drugs.
He said Grant had met with Father Peter McVerry who confirmed there was place for him on his day rehabilitation drug programme on his release from prison.
Counsel said Fr McVerry felt that Grant appeared anxious to address his addiction and he was happy to assist him.