Belfast Telegraph

Drink-driver jailed after crashing into pensioner's vehicle

A drink-driver who drove his car at speeds in excess of 100mph before he crashed into another vehicle driven by a woman in her 70s was jailed yesterday for five years
A drink-driver who drove his car at speeds in excess of 100mph before he crashed into another vehicle driven by a woman in her 70s was jailed yesterday for five years

By George Jackson

A drink-driver who drove his car at speeds in excess of 100mph before he crashed into another vehicle driven by a woman in her 70s was jailed yesterday for five years.

Paul Martin O'Hagan, from Drumderg Road in Draperstown, asked a female passenger in his car to say she'd been the driver as he didn't want to go to jail.

O'Hagan pleaded guilty to drink-driving, causing grievous bodily injury to his victim by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance, and failing to provide a blood specimen.

The incidents took place on May 6, 2017, on the Mayogall Road between Bellaghy and Gulladuff.

The Crown Court in Londonderry was told that O'Hagan was driving a woman who he'd met in a bar home. As they approached the village of Gulladuff, and inside a 30mph zone, the passenger asked O'Hagan to slow down.

The passenger told police: "I looked at the speedometer. It was over 100mph. He continued the speed in the town. I kept saying to him slow down and shouting at him to slow down. I could see a vehicle in the distance which had its lights on. We approached this vehicle and Paul was still travelling very fast. I shouted several times to Paul to watch the car and move but he continued to travel fast."

She told police O'Hagan said to her, "you'll have to say you were driving. I'll go back to prison and I have a child".

Judge Philip Babington said three women were taken to hospital as a result of the two-car collision. The most seriously injured underwent surgery for a fracture to bones in her arm. She also sustained rib fractures.

When he was arrested O'Hagan told the police: "I am a disqualified driver and I shouldn't have been on the road."

Judge Babington said O'Hagan had 43 previous convictions, all of them for motoring offences, among them six convictions for dangerous driving.

Judge Babington said there were several aggravating factors in the case, including O'Hagan's alcohol consumption and refusal to provide a blood specimen, his high speed, ignoring his passenger's warnings to slow down and asking her to take the blame.

The judge said O'Hagan's driving record over a 12-year period, for which he was sentenced to terms in imprisonment as well as periods of disqualification, showed he paid no attention to court sanctions.

O'Hagan was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.

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