A drug driver who led police in Ireland on two high-speed chases in the space of two weeks — almost hitting a cyclist in one, before crashing moments after driving at 99mph (160km/h) in the second — has avoided jail.
Mark Fagan was handed "the chance of a lifetime" by judge Orla Crowe at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, the Sunday World reports, because of the "very good progress" he has made since the two incidents just nine days apart in July 2020.
The 21-year-old had pleaded guilty to endangerment, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and possession of cannabis in relation to the first incident on the night of July 7, and later pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, drug driving and possession of cannabis on for the second on July 16.
Fagan was sentenced to a four-year suspended sentence — with strict conditions including the need to engage with probation services for two years and undergo regular drug testing — and a four-year driving ban but avoided an immediate jail term for the high-speed chases.
The court heard how, during the first incident, there was a lot of surface water on the roads following heavy rain when Fagan fled from gardaí, driving through red lights, on the wrong side of the road and at speeds of up to 87mph (140km/h).
During the chase Fagan almost collided with a cyclist, but was ultimately stopped and arrested. He was released on bail.
Nine days after almost hitting the cyclist during the 10 to 15-minute chase Fagan again raced away from gardaí through a red light, this time hitting speeds of up to 99mph (160km/h).
The driver was seen again speeding on the wrong side of the road and overtaking vehicles dangerously, but eventually crashed into bollards and was arrested, a blood test showing controlled drugs in his system.
In court, defence counsel said Fagan sometimes used cannabis to reduce stress due to his home life (where drug use was prevalent) and cocaine. Mr Clarke added that his client had dealt with his risk factors, was accepting help and had been assessed as at a low risk of reoffending.
He concluded it was "one of those exceptional cases" and questioned if society would benefit from his client losing the structure he had gained since offending.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.