Oncoming police car was forced to brake sharply to avoid collision

A County Tyrone motorist who forced an oncoming police car to brake sharply to avoid a collision, has lost his licence for 14 months.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 4:58 pm

Twenty-one-year-old Niall Loughran from Aginduff Park in Dungannon, was fined £175 for driving while having consumed excess alcohol.

Loughran, a plant operator, was fined a further £250 with a £15 offender levy for dangerous driving, and £150 on a charge of failing to stop for police.

Imposing the penalties at Dungannon Magistrates Court on Friday, District Judge Michael Ranaghan told Loughran, who appeared via video link, that he was “an extremely lucky man” not to be facing a much longer period of disqualification.

Prosecuting counsel said police were on mobile patrol in the Dungannon area on August 1 this year when they saw a BMW car coming along Granville Road and turning onto Ballygawley Road at speed, veering onto the wrong side of the road for some 20 metres, forcing the oncoming police vehicle to brake sharply.

The lawyer said it proceeded along Ballygawley Road closely followed by the police who observed it driving erratically and crossing the central white line.

Counsel said the BMW cut a mini-roundabout and police had to apply siren and blue lights in order to get the driver to stop.

He said the defendant smelled of intoxicating liquor and failed a preliminary breath test.

Loughran was arrested and taken to Omagh custody suite, where he provided a breath specimen showing an alcohol reading of 69mgs.

The lawyer added the defendant was interviewed and made a full admission.

Defence lawyer Michael Forde stressed that Loughran had a completely clean driving licence.

Mr Forde explained Loughran had been out socialising and had consumed six or seven pints.

“The car was parked outside with the keys and he foolishly decided to take some friends home,” he said.

He said the defendant is a plant operator working in England and referred the judge to a character reference letter

Mr Forde added that the loss of his licence could have a serious impact on the defendant when he returned home, and pleaded with the court to keep the disqualification to the minimum period.

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