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Armagh man landed car on roof after hitting traffic signal and ricocheting into another vehicle

An Armagh man who drove dangerously whilst over the limit and caused an accident has been sentenced to 120 hours of community service.

The 20-year-old’s solicitor said the defendant, who was also handed an 18 month disqualification, was ” embarrassed and ashamed” but had no explanation for why he had decided to drive.

Sean Reilly, of Woodford Green, appeared for sentencing on dangerous driving, failing to report, failing to stop, using a vehicle without insurance, no driving licence, driving with excess alcohol, taking a vehicle without authority and failing to provide a specimen of breath at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on July 14, a call was made to the Ambulance Service regarding a two vehicle collision on Castle Street in Portadown with both cars involved being Ford Fiestas.

At the scene, the defendant’s vehicle was observed to be on its roof and the injured party’s on its side.

Witness’ accounts said that Reilly had drove through a red light at speed before crashing into a traffic signal and ricocheting against the injured party’s car.

The defendant had made off on foot towards the train station but was apprehended by police.

Upon his arrest, it was discovered that Reilly was not the registered owner of the vehicle and did not have insurance or a licence.

The defendant refused to give a preliminary breath test at the road side but an evidential sample, which was obtained in custody gave a reading of 68mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

CCTV footage showed the car being driven at high speeds with all four wheels of the vehicle leaving the road as it went over a speed bump.

During interview, Reilly made full admissions to the offence and in a second interview confirmed he did not have permission to drive the car, which belonged to an acquaintance.

Defence solicitor Chris Rafferty stated: “This is totally out of character for this man; he has no previous and hasn’t engaged in this sort of behaviour before.

“He is embarrassed and ashamed; the accident has also impacted on him mentally.”

He continued: “He has no explanation as to why he jumped into the vehicle. He works part time in a fish and chip shop, as well as being a marketing student at Jordanstown.

“He instructs that after he crashed the vehicle he panicked, but once taken to the police station, he accepted full culpability”.

District Judge Mark McGarrity said: “This is a serious matter but I will take into account your lack of record and your timely plea.”

Reilly was sentenced to 120 hours of community service and was disqualified from driving for 18 months.

In addition, the defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of £400, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 26 weeks.

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