‘One of worst driving cases ever seen’

Coleraine court.
Coleraine court.

A drink driver sped from police through Coleraine town centre before crashing in what a judge said was one of the worst cases he has seen.

Jamie O’Hagan (24), from St Eithne’s Park, Londonderry, had taken his brother’s Peugeot 206 car which was so badly damaged he had to crawl out through the broken windscreen.

Coleraine Magistrates Court was told that on Easter Tuesday this year O’Hagan’s car rampage started at Caw Road roundabout in Derry when another vehicle was struck before he filled up with petrol in Limavady and drove off without paying.

He was later spotted driving dangerously at Castlerock Road when he struck and damaged vehicles and when police saw him in the Millburn area of the town and signalled for him to stop he made off along the Portrush Road and onto Cromore Road at speeds of up to 75mph before he crashed and a back seat passenger was injured.

A defence lawyer said at the time O’Hagan had lost his job and turned to drink.

He said O’Hagan had been taking driving lessons and was to buy the car from his brother but had taken it without consent..

District Judge Liam McNally said: “I have heard some bad cases of driving since I came to Coleraine but this one tops the lot.” He said it was an appalling piece of driving and O’Hagan had shown no regard for anyone’s safety. O’Hagan was jailed for four months; banned from driving for two years and fined £100 but was released on £500 bail pending an appeal. He admitted aggravated taking of a vehicle; driving with excess alcohol; failing to stop for police: failing to stop, remain and report after an accident; no insurance and licence; making off without paying for petrol and assaulting a police officer.