Almost crashed into police car at red light

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After he drove through a red light causing a police car to brake to avoid an accident a 38-year-old man was found to be under the influence of prescription drugs.

Brendan McGivern, Scarva Walk, Banbridge, admitted a catalogue of offences when he appeared last Thursday at the local magistrates’ court.

For dangerous driving on December 28 last year he was given 240 hours community service and banned for one year. A concurrent community service term of 100 hours and one year ban were imposed for driving while unfit.

He was fined £250, ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy and banned for a year for not having insurance. A fine of £100 was imposed for not having a licence and he was fined £15 for contravening a traffic sign.

For driving without insurance on March 14 this year he was fined £250 and disqualified for three years and he was also fined £100 for not having a licence.

The court heard that around 3.15pm on December 28 the defendant drove through a red light at Church Square in front of a police vehicle which had to brake to avoid an accident.

McGivern continued along the Lurgan Road and police noticed his vehicle ‘fishtailing’ and smoke coming from a front wheel. They stopped the car on the Lurgan Road and he seemed to be under the influence of something.

The defendant became erratic and began jumping around and shouting. At the police station a blood sample was taken and this showed the presence of prescription drugs, one of which was Diazepam. He accepted he had been involved in a collision in Lisburn.

On March 13 he was stopped while driving the same vehicle on the Castlewellan Road in Banbridge.

A barrister representing McGivern said these were serious matters and his liberty was in jeopardy. He added that he was also in breach of a suspended sentence but this was for a different type of offence.

The barrister said that on the day in question the defendant’s father had been driving but he felt unwell and McGivern took over.

He explained that the drugs found in his client’s system were medication he was prescribed. The lawyer added that McGivern realised he cannot get behind the wheel of any vehicle and if he continued to do so there would only be one result. He asked for one final opportunity.

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes said that the penny had not dropped when McGivern got back into the same car on March 14. He added that on the first occasion an accident was only avoided by the excellent driving of the police officer. The judge made no order the suspended sentence.