A 21-year-old Lisnaskea student who abandoned his car and fled from police was later found to have been drink driving.
Cathal Caulfield, of Trasna Way was convicted of various motoring offences at Enniskillen Magistrates Court. He was suspended from driving for a period of 16 months and fined £375.
The prosecutor outlined that on December 30, 2014 at 3.40am a police vehicle was stationary in a layby just outside Lisnaskea when they saw a silver Ford Focus driving without headlights. They followed the vehicle and saw it turn into Trasna Way in the town. Police indicated for the vehicle to stop by putting on the blue lights, but the driver refused and continued on for a further 200 metres, before turning into a cul de sac.
The driver, Caulfield then abandoned the vehicle and ran. While running away from police the defendant discarded two items, a mobile phone and keys to the vehicle, which were both later recovered by officers in the area. During his escape Caulfield fell twice due to the icy conditions on the ground, but got up and continued to run. Officers were unable to locate the defendant at the time, but located the keys 75 yards from the vehicle and were able to check that they were for the Ford Focus.
Police made checks and called at the home of the owner of the vehicle, the defendant’s brother. He told police that someone must have stolen the keys to the car because he did not give permission for anyone to drive. He explained that the keys had been in the house and no one had broken in. Police then checked the bedroom of the defendant and saw that he was in bed. He matched their description and officers could detect a strong smell of alcohol. Caulfield was aggressive towards police and when he turned officers noted a scrape on his hip and arm. The defendant’s soaking shoes were also found in the house.
Caulfield was arrested and taken to Enniskillen Police Station where a lower reading of 63mg was obtained, 28mg over the legal limit. Checks were also made which confirmed the mobile phone recovered belonged to the defendant. During interview Caulfield denied driving the vehicle and said he had lost the mobile phone. To the other offences of driving without insurance, taking a motor vehicle without authority, being an unaccompanied L driver and not displaying valid L plates he replied: “I was not driving the car.”
Defence solicitor Bernard Corrigan explained that the second year engineering student had been on his Christmas break from the University of Ulster and had “very foolishly taken his brother’s car” to go and meet friends in Newtownbutler. Mr Corrigan called it a “very foolish escapade”.
District judge Nigel Broderick said it was “somewhat bizarre and unusual” that the defendant would try so desperately to escape the police officers and Mr Corrigan said that Caulfield was intoxicated at the time and wasn’t thinking rationally. The district judge noted that the defendant’s actions in evading police had simply increased the penalty. He did however give him credit for his guilty plea when imposing his sentence.
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