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Derry hit-and-run accused detained by public 'five times over limit'

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An alleged drink-driver whose preliminary breath test returned a reading of just over five times the legal limit after he was detained by members of the public following a hit-and-run incident was refused bail yesterday. (stock photo)

An alleged drink-driver whose preliminary breath test returned a reading of just over five times the legal limit after he was detained by members of the public following a hit-and-run incident was refused bail yesterday. (stock photo)

An alleged drink-driver whose preliminary breath test returned a reading of just over five times the legal limit after he was detained by members of the public following a hit-and-run incident was refused bail yesterday. (stock photo)

An alleged drink-driver whose preliminary breath test returned a reading of just over five times the legal limit after he was detained by members of the public following a hit-and-run incident was refused bail yesterday.

Brian McDonagh (43), from Winchester Park in the Waterside area of Londonderry, was charged with driving while unfit due to excess alcohol, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and with three counts of failing to stop.

The Magistrates Court in Derry was told the incident occurred in the Buncrana Road and Skeoge Road areas of the city just after 10.30pm on Friday.

A police officer told District Judge Peter King that the alleged offences were reported to the police by members of the public who had detained the defendant after his car had crashed into a grass verge close to Templemore Sports Complex.

The police witness said members of the public claimed that the defendant had driven a car across the border from Co Donegal along the Buncrana Road. At times his vehicle was driven on the wrong side of the road forcing other motorists to swerve to avoid colliding with his car, the court heard.

The defendant continued to drive along the Buncrana Road before he crashed into the rear of another car. He stopped temporarily but then drove off and around a roundabout in the wrong direction, again forcing oncoming motorists to take evasive action, before eventually crashing into the roadside verge, the hearing was told.

Objecting to bail, the officer said that by being on the city side of the River Foyle the defendant had also breached a Crown Court bail condition imposed on him for other driving offences, including one of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily injury.

When the police arrived and arrested the defendant he was given a preliminary breath test that returned a reading of 180. When he was breathalysed later in Strand Road Police Station following his arrest the reading was 127.

The officer stated that when interviewed the defendant said he'd just bought the car hours earlier for about £500.

He said the defendant told the police that he remembered nothing after he'd earlier consumed seven cans of beer.

The judge said the defendant had clearly breached his Crown Court bail conditions by being on the city side.

Mr King said he found the defendant's preliminary breath test result extremely concerning and he said the defendant had, by his actions, shown a complete disregard for the safety of other road users.

"The facts of this case as outlined by the constable are striking," he added.

Bail was refused and the defendant was remanded in custody to appear again in court on July 27.

Belfast Telegraph