'Astronomical speed' Speedster dad caught doing 221kmph on M7 to appeal two-year disqualification order
Driver clocks up fastest speed prosecuted in Ireland this year
A dad caught driving at an 'astronomical' 221km/h on the M7 has claimed he was in such a rush to pick up his son from crèche he didn't think to check his speedometer.
The astonishing speed reached by Lukasz Ziarek as he passed through Cappakeel, Co Laois, on September 22 last prompted Judge Catherine Staines to remark: "I didn't know a car could do that speed."
Speaking after he exited his 162 Mercedes Benz outside his Halloween-decorated home in Monasterevin on Thursday, Lukasz said he was appealing a two-year disqualification order handed down by the judge.
"My problem is I need this licence for my job," the mechanical engineer told the Sunday World.
"So I have a meeting again in court at 10.30 in the morning and we are going to appeal it.
"I hope that it [the disqualification] is not going to be two years… that maybe it will be a year or less. If I keep my licence that will be the best."
Asked if he normally speeds, Ziarek responded: "No … not really. We were going to collect our son and we only had a few minutes to get there.
"So I said I'm going to make it … I didn't even, to be honest, check on the clock.
"It happened so that's all."
At the outset of Ziarek 's court appearance, Judge Staines heard he was charged with dangerous driving at M7 Cappakeel on September 22 after he was clocked doing 221 km/h in a 120 km/h zone on the busy motorway.
When defence counsel sought to have the charge reduced to careless driving, the prosecution did not agree to this.
The case involved "astronomical speed," Sergeant JJ Kirby said.
Ziarek told the gardaí who stopped him that he was rushing to collect children from a crèche. He works as a mechanical engineer in Dublin and the court heard that a mandatory driving disqualification will have a devastating effect on him.
He pays €900 per month for his mortgage.
"I didn't know a car could do that speed," Judge Catherine Staines said.
The court heard Ziarek was driving a Mercedes Benz car.
"The only reason I was able to catch him," Garda Stephen O'Hanlon said, "was because I had my lights and sirens on and he was held up by other cars in front of him."
Garda O'Hanlon said the car he was driving would not have been able to reach the speeds the defendant was doing.
Ziarek had five previous convictions, one of which was for drink driving, which dated back to 2010.
"You could have arrived dead," Judge Staines told him.
"Your children could have had no father".
"This was outrageous speed," she said.
Lukasz was disqualified from driving for two years.
Recognisances were fixed on his own bond of €100, in the event of an appeal.
A search of available records shows Ziarek's speed is the fastest offence prosecuted by gardaí on Ireland's roads so far this year.
In July, a motorist caught doing 192km/h on the M7 was also banned from driving for a two-year period.
Chen Shen, with an address in Limerick, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Gortmore, Ballywilliam, in Nenagh, on February 19.
His solicitor told the court his client was on his way to visit his sick mother in Limerick.
Separately, in June, a driver was detected doing 206 km/h on the N7 - more than twice the speed limit on that stretch of road.
Gardaí detected a car doing over twice the legal speed limit on the N7 on Saturday.
The driver was arrested and charged. His case is still pending before the courts.
Speed had been identified as the single biggest factor contributing to road deaths in Ireland.
Statistics show that more than 40 per cent of fatal collisions are caused by excessive or inappropriate speeds.