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Longford crash Man charged with six counts of dangerous driving after high speed chase that left garda hospitalised

The chase came to a halt when the accused man's car crashed into a 9ft wall within yards of a creche, the court heard.

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William Lawrence (35), Cloncovid, Cavan was brought before a sitting of Mullingar District Court this morning following an

William Lawrence (35), Cloncovid, Cavan was brought before a sitting of Mullingar District Court this morning following an

William Lawrence (35), Cloncovid, Cavan was brought before a sitting of Mullingar District Court this morning following an

A court has heard how a man who crashed into a wall after a high speed chase which left a garda in hospital was thrown onto the front passenger seat alongside 22 empty beer cans.

William Lawrence (35), Cloncovid, Cavan was brought before a sitting of Mullingar District Court this morning following an incident in Longford town on Monday afternoon.

Sgt Jarlath Nohilly gave evidence of having arrested the accused shortly before midnight on Monday before formally charging him during the early hours of this morning.

He said Mr Lawrence, who made his way into court on crutches, made no reply to six counts of dangerous driving, no insurance and being at the wheel without a driver's license.

The accused is also charged with allegedly driving off from a petrol station in nearby Ballinalee shortly before the incident unfolded.

Sgt Nohilly said gardai were notified of a suspected drink driver travelling in the O'Connor Park and Great Water Street area of town.

He told presiding Judge Seamus Hughes how gardai Ronan Duffy and John Hanley attempted unsuccessfully to try and intercept the vehicle as it sped off at high speed along St Mel's Road.

It was at this stage, the accused who was on bail at the time, allegedly drove straight through a junction and onto the Ballinalee Road where gardai managed to pull up alongside the vehicle after getting caught up in traffic.

Sgt Nohilly said Garda Duffy exited the patrol car and spoke to the driver, who it is claimed, mounted a kerb in a bid to flee the scene.

It was alleged at that point Garda Hanley tried to grab the keys from the car's ignition while the car began to move forwards resulting in the garda's hand getting caught in the window.

"It was lucky he (garda) wasn't dragged up the road," said Sgt Nohilly, revealing the garda was hospitalised with a suspected broken wrist.

Sgt Nohilly said both officers returned to the garda patrol car and continued to pursue the accused into the densely populated residential areas of Oakvale, Ardnacassa, Ard Aoibhinn and Grian Ard.

He said it was in the Ard Aoibhinn area where the accused crashed into the garda patrol car just seconds before the getaway car narrowly avoided colliding with another car.

Sgt Nohilly said the chase eventually came to a halt when the accused man's car crashed into a 9ft wall within yards of a creche.

He said when gardai approached the vehicle, they found Mr Lawrence with serious injuries including a dislocated hip and broken ankle.

It was also revealed the accused was found in the front passenger seat after hitting his head off the car's windscreen.

"There were also 22 empty cans of Carlsberg found in the car," he said.

During interview at Longford garda station, Sgt Nohilly said Mr Lawrence claimed he had been in Longford with a view to visiting his brother who lives locally.

He said Mr Lawrence alleged he had been feeling "a little bit depressed" and after finding his brother wasn't home, began drinking in the car.

In refusing bail, Judge Hughes described the episode as the "sort of stuff you see on thriller TV".

Mr Lawrence was remanded in custody to appear before a sitting of Cloverhill District Court next Tuesday, March 30.

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