Moy taxi driver chased down drunken hit and run motorist

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A drunk motorist, who was chased by a taxi driver after a hit and run in Moy village, has been disqualified from driving for two years.

Stephen Gormley, 24, from Caramoyle, Keady, appeared at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

He pleaded guilty to drink driving, and failure to remain and report an accident.

The court heard how on October 23, police were tasked to the scene of a hit and run accident in Moy Square shortly before 2am, after a white van collided with a taxi and failed to stop.

The driver went off in pursuit of the motorist, and when police entered the village they noted the van being driven at a very slow pace with a man walking in front of it. Its number-plate was damaged and the windscreen smashed in.

The driver off the van then tried to make off, but was apprehended by police who had to switch off the van engine and remove the key.

Police observed that the defendant was wearing a pink shirt with blood stains, as though he had been in a fight. His eyes were glazed and he smelled of intoxicating liquor.

Gormley subsequently failed a preliminary breath test with a reading of 87mcg. At the time, the defendant asked police to arrest the taxi driver who had chased him, and claimed that he had not been driving the vehicle at the time of the collision.

According to the police, the taxi had sustained damage to the front bumper as well as structural damage.

The court also heard that Gormley had lost his license and applied for a new one shortly after the collision. His defence solicitor said that Gormley had just three previous penalty points awarded for driving whilst using a mobile phone. He was in a relationship and had a job based in Tandragee. Gormley came from a good family background with no major issues about his history apart from one informal warning from the police.

However, the solicitor went on to say that he accepted Gormley would not get full credit for his guilty plea as he had initially denied the charges. Gormley realised the seriousness of the incident and made a full apology to the court for his behaviour.

District Judge John Meehan pointed out that Gormley had initially blamed others for the collision.

The judge also complained about the incidence of young people drink driving with passengers in their vehicles, acting with complete irresponsibility and then steps to avoid detection.

As well as the disqualification period of two years, Judge Meehan fined Gormley £200 for drink driving, and £150 for each of the three other charges as well as the offender’s levy. He warned the defendant would have to sit a suitable test when the disqualification period had ended.