Wrong-way speeding driver gets a sentence of just under two years
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Wrong-way speeding driver gets a sentence of just under two years

A man who drove on the wrong side of a motorway at high speed has been handed a sentence of just under two years, reports Eimear Dodd.

Lee McMullen (22) pleaded guilty to two counts of endangerment and two counts of dangerous driving on July 31, 2019, at various locations including Main Street, Celbridge, the N4 and a motorway in the Dublin area. McMullen has eight previous convictions for road traffic offences.

Judge Martin Nolan said McMullen had been driving on that day in an “extremely reckless and dangerous” manner which had “put a lot of people in danger”.

He imposed a sentence of four years, with the final two years and three months suspended on strict conditions.

Garda Michael Martin told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday that a colleague called for assistance at 4 am on the day in question after spotting a car driving in the direction of Celbridge at approximately 160km/h.

McMullen, who has an address of Rowlagh Gardens, Clondalkin, was identified as the driver of the car, which also had several occupants.

The garda patrol car switched on its blue lights and indicated for the car to stop, but it did not.

The car continued along the Celbridge Road, travelling in the middle of the road through one junction, then crossing the next junction on the wrong side of the road.

The car swerved in the direction of a second patrol car on the approach to an Applegreen Service Station, through a residential area with a speed limit of 60km/h.

The car crossed a bridge on the wrong side of the road, then turned towards Celbridge Main Street. Garda Michael Martin said the car was travelling at over 100km/h at this stage.

The vehicle continued onto the Maynooth Road, then onto the N4 towards the motorway. It continued towards the motorway, travelling at speeds of 160km/h on both sides of the road.

The car continued on the motorway towards Dublin city centre in the outbound lane with its lights switched off. The patrol car terminated the chase for safety reasons, while another garda vehicle kept the car under surveillance.

Other vehicles flashed their lights and took evasive action to avoid colliding with the car driven by McMullen.

At the Leixlip junction, the car braked violently, crossing road dividers to exit the motorway.

The occupants fled the car, leaving it abandoned in a nearby estate. McMullen was caught by gardaí in the vicinity of the car. The passengers of the car were later found by gardaí in a taxi. The entire incident lasted between eight and ten minutes.

McMullen answered ‘no comment’ when interviewed by gardaí. One of the occupants admitted to gardaí that they had been a passenger, but did not identify the driver.

Garda Martin agreed with the defence counsel that his client was 19 at the time of this offending and has since been disqualified from driving.

The other occupants of the car were older than McMullen and included a family member.

Defence counsel told Judge Nolan that his client accepts this was a serious offence which had put members of the public in peril.

His client is a father to two small children and accepts he is facing a custodial sentence in relation to this offending.

Judge Nolan said the accused has a modest record of conviction and is relatively young.

He imposed a jail sentence of 21 months in relation to the count of endangerment, with the other counts taken into consideration.