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Banned Northern Ireland driver wore balaclava to hide his face, then crashed into police cars

By Nevin Farrell

A Larne man who wore a balaclava while driving said it was to stop the PSNI from identifying him as he was previously banned from the road.

However, Alan Humphrys (28) quickly came to police attention - when he crashed in to three PSNI cars.

Ballymena Magistrates Court was told yesterday that "substantial damage" was caused to the vehicles which had been parked during a property search on Larne's Killyglen Road on September 17 last year.

Humphrys, of Churchill Road, had taken a cocktail of drugs and claimed it was an accident and that he had "blacked out" before his red Hyundai smashed into the police vehicles.

A PSNI sergeant in one of the cars was taken to hospital for injuries to his back, chest and arms.

The prosecutor said both Humphrys and a front seat passenger were wearing balaclavas.

After the crash both tried to escape. Humphrys was caught, but his passenger got away.

Police suspected Humphrys was on drugs and a blood sample showed traces of cocaine, Diazepam, Temazepam and amphetamines.

The prosecutor said "substantial damage" was caused to the police vehicles.

He said the defendant told police he bought the Hyundai for £150 in Belfast and was intending to do it up. He was driving from his home to his mother's house and "wore a balaclava so police would not recognise him, as he was previously banned from driving".

Humphrys said his friend was wearing the balaclava "for fun".

The defendant told officers the crash was an accident.

At a previous High Court bail application related to the case, it had been alleged Humphrys deliberately crashed into three parked police cars in an attempt to hinder a burglary investigation.

It was also claimed in the High Court that at the time of the incident Humphrys was on police bail in connection with the suspected break-in.

He had been originally charged with dangerous driving, but that was withdrawn.

Last month, he pleaded guilty to charges of driving while unfit, no driving licence, no insurance, driving without due care and attention and resisting police.

Back in Ballymena Magistrates Court for sentencing yesterday, Humphrys' barrister Aaron Thompson said his client had originally been arrested for attempted murder. The defendant was never charged with that.

On the date of the offences, Mr Thompson said Humphrys had "blacked out at the point of collision". He said "something extremely foolish happened that day" and said the defendant had already spent four weeks in custody in relation to the matter.

Humphrys was put on probation for a year, must carry out 100 hours of community service and was banned from driving for three years.

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