A Kildare man who crashed a car at the end of a high speed chase with gardai while his one year old son was in the back has received a four year jail term.
Dean Coleman (19) drove off at speed, broke traffic lights and mounted a footpath because he knew there were warrants out for his arrest and wanted to spend Christmas with his child and partner.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring said: “He was seeking to save his own skin by putting his son at risk of death”.
Coleman of Maple Road, Newbridge, Co Kildare pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday, February 27, to two counts of driving with reckless endangerment and three counts of criminal damage on locations around Dublin city on December 15, 2013.
The father of one drove at high speed when gardai tried to carry out a routine traffic stop on his car.
He drove through residential areas, driving straight through or the wrong way on roundabouts. Coleman crashed the Volvo car into a number of occupied cars but continued driving on at speed.
The five minute long car chase ended when Coleman lost control of the car and mounted a footpath. The car crashed into and snapped a pole, hit a gate and railings and spun to the other side of the road where it crashed into a wall.
Coleman ran off, leaving the engine running with his baby son strapped into a child seat in the back of the car. Gardai discovered the baby crying when they went to turn the car engine off.
Judge Ring said that it would take time before the extent of the psychological damage caused to the child was known.
Garda Mark Melbourne told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that Coleman was found hiding behind a bin in a nearby garden. He was arrested and tested positive for cannabis.
The court heard he has 27 previous convictions including five for dangerous driving and five for driving with no insurance.
At the time of these offences he was on bail for making a threat to kill or cause serious harm. In July 2013 he received an eight year driving ban at Naas Circuit Criminal Court for dangerous driving.
Seamus Clarke BL, defending, said that it was ironic that his client drove away from gardai to avoid his arrest because he wanted to spend Christmas with his then partner and their baby son. He said that as a result of his actions his partner left him.
He said that Mr Coleman’s father was a soldier and his family were good decent people. He said they had moved to Kildare when Coleman began getting into trouble at a younger age to try to put him back on a good path.