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Dublin: 7°C Friday 27 November 2020

Man who led gardaí on high speed car chase and crashed outside a school is jailed

Bernard Kelly (38) broke red lights and mounted the pavement outside the school.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A MAN WHO led gardaí on a high speed car chase before crashing into cars waiting to collect children from school has been jailed for five and a half years.

Bernard Kelly (38) broke red lights and mounted the pavement outside the school. His partner and their three-month-old child were in the car.

Kelly claimed later that he kept driving during the 20 minute pursuit because he wanted to protect the child. He said he was afraid gardaí would ram into his car.

The incident happened in the middle of the day on 21 December 2018. Garda Mark Forsyth said the schools were getting out early for the Christmas holidays and that Kelly broke the speed limit and drove through junctions and on the wrong side of the road and the wrong way a one-way road.

Kelly of Captains Road, Crumlin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment and to criminal damage of seven vehicles which were damaged when Kelly’s car hit them.

Garda Forsyth said he saw Kelly stopped in heavy traffic and knew he was “wanted by gardaí”. He walked up to the car and told Kelly to get out but Kelly drove off at speed, causing the wheels to spin and Garda Forsyth to get out of the way.

Injured party Brendan Rooney told gardaí that he had been sitting in his car waiting for his son to get out of school when he heard a bang from the back.

The driver’s door was smashed in and he had to kick the door out to open it. The car was written off by insurers and Rooney suffered minor whiplash.

A number of other cars were damaged, including having wing mirrors smashed. Gardaí called off the chase once Kelly got close to the school but he was spotted later that day and arrested.

Kelly has 141 previous convictions, including two for drunk driving. His lawyer told the court he had struggled with heroin addiction.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed a sentence of four and a half years for endangerment. He made this consecutive to a one-year sentence for an offence of possession of a stolen property committed on 16 September 2018.

The court heard that on that occasion, Kelly and another man were seen rummaging in bushes on Templeville Road, Templeogue, Dublin shortly after a break in to a nearby house. A TV set and laptop were taken during the burglary.

A resident of the house later spotted the two men returning in a taxi and saw his laptop in the taxi. He confronted Kelly and the taxi driver became suspicious and refused to drive on.

Gardaí were called and Kelly was arrested and later released on bail.

About the author:

Declan Brennan

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