‘Appalling piece of’ driving’ by pensioner

A 66-year-old Limavady man whose car travelled approximately 15 feet into the air and landed on an embankment has been told it was an “appalling piece of driving”.

Appearing at Limavady Magistrate’s Court was Anthony Reilly of Seacoast Road. Reilly was sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for two years, and was also disqualified from driving for two years for the offences including dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.

The court heard on April 23 at 1.50pm police attended a one-vehicle collision on the Limavady bypass at Ballykelly Road. Reilly’s vehicle had driven through the roundabout, crossed to the far side and came to rest on the grass embankment.

Police spoke with Reilly and said he became agitated.

They said they could smell alcohol on him, but Reilly refused to provide a blood and breath sample. He was cautioned and taken to hospital as he had complained of pain.

The court heard two traffic signs had been completely destroyed in the incident and the vehicle had travelled approximately 15 feet in the air during the incident; that the roundabout was three to four feet high, and some 90 feet in diameter.

The court also heard that it was 195 feet from when the vehicle had left the road to landing on the embankment.

A defence solicitor told the court Reilly had denied taking alcohol.

District Judge Liam McNally said: “This was an appalling piece of driving.”

Judge McNally said when he first heard of the facts he felt it deserved a sentence of at least five months in custody. However, Judge McNally said he would credit Reilly for his plea and noted his clear driving record was now “blemished” in such a way.