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Sunday 2 April 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# Cork
Drunk driver who crossed onto wrong side of road 20 times jailed
Culhane also had no tax, insurance or driving licence at the time of the offence / YouTube

A FATHER OF three who crossed over to the wrong side of the road twenty times whilst drink driving and then threatened to kill a concerned member of the public who confronted him has been jailed for three years.

Daniel Culhane who lives at an apartment in Owenahincha, Rosscarbery, Co Cork engaged in the dangerous driving on a two and a half kilometre stretch of road in the Enniskeane area of Co Cork on the 16 December 2020.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard evidence from Detective Garda Manus O’Donnell who said that Culhane drove dangerously whilst under the influence of alcohol and tablets and in a period of time where he was disqualified from driving.

Culhane also had no tax, insurance or driving licence at the time of the offence.

On the morning of 16 December, Culhane caused criminal damage in a Supervalu in Dunmanway, Co Cork breaking a glass panel on a rear door.

In search of alcohol he then stole 10 cans of cider from a convenience shop on the New Road in Bandon. Shortly after 10am he got in his car and drove in an erratic fashion on the Bandon to Enniskeane Road.

Garda O’Donnell said that mobile phone footage shot by a passenger in a car behind Culhane showed him crossing to the wrong side of the road twenty times during his drive. He drove erratically in locations around Enniskeane, namely, Dromovane, Teadies Lower, Murragh, and Palaceanne.

He said that Culhane, who is a drug user and is also addicted to alcohol, had a baseball bat in his car. He eventually pulled in to a drive way in Teadies Lower where he was confronted by members of the public who had witnessed his dangerous driving.

He threatened to kill one man who confronted him about his bizarre behaviour.

The court heard Culhane was “shouting, roaring and threatening everyone” when he was detained by members of the public on the outskirts of Enniskeane prior to being arrested by gardai at the scene.

Dt Garda O’Donnell said that Culhane, who is originally from Ballincollig, Co Cork had no recollection of his car journey. All he could recall was getting the cider in the Centra in Bandon.

The court was told that Culhane was on bail when the offence occurred. He has 53 previous convictions and was disqualified from driving at the time of the offence.

Dermot Sheehan, barrister, said that his client had been hooked on heroin and was suffering from an alcohol addiction. He said he was keen to enter a treatment centre for his alcohol issues.

He emphasised that his client wanted to apologise to persons who came across him whilst he was driving erratically on the West Cork road.

“He understands that it was serious and wrong. He is conscious that individuals have been effected. ”

He said that his client had taken tablets and that whilst he was over the limit his blood alcohol level was not astronomically high.

Culhane pleaded guilty to all 14 counts on the indictment against him including four charges of dangerous driving and one of endangerment in the Enniskeane area.

The most serious charge was one of endangerment, whereby he created a substantial risk of death or serious harm at four locations around Enniskeane, namely, Dromovane, Teadies Lower, Murragh, and Palaceanne.

He also admitted four related charges of dangerous driving in respect of those locations.Other charges included threatening to kill a man at Teadies Lower, and producing a black baseball bat while making this threat.

Culhane also pleaded guilty to burglary at Supervalu in Dunmanway and causing criminal damage to a glass panel of a rear door, and stealing 10 cans of alcohol at Kevin O’Leary’s on New Rd, Bandon.

He admitted causing criminal damage to a 2017-registered vehicle belonged to Keohane’s Readymix at Teadies Lower.

Finally, he pleaded guilty to drink driving and having no insurance or licence. His blood alcohol was 74 mg per 100 ml.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said that Culhane had driven in an exaggeratedly slow manner because he had no control of the vehicle.

“We are all lucky even more dreadful consequences didn’t occur. He has shown an ongoing disregard for road traffic legislation. He was disqualified at the time of the offence.”

He said he would disqualify Culhane from driving for life if he could.

Factoring in the guilty plea he jailed Culhane to four years in jail suspending the last year of the sentence. Culhane was also disqualified from driving for twenty years.

Olivia Kelleher
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