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Driver in dangerous high-speed Garda chase sentenced


A man who stole a car in Castlebar, while serving a seven-year driving ban, rammed three Garda patrol cars and raced through Ballyheane, Ballinrobe, Hollymount and The Neale before crashing into a field was sentenced to four years in prison at the Circuit Court in Castlebar on Friday.
Ethan McHale (24) from Castlegrove, Castlebar, pleaded guilty to endangerment, unauthorised taking of a vehicle, dangerous driving and driving without insurance when he appeared before Judge Rory McCabe for sentencing.
A minor who had allowed himself to be carried in the stolen vehicle was also sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months on condition he remains drug and alcohol free and engages with the probation services.
Detective Garda Rowland McIntyre told the court that a Skoda Octavia was stolen from a private house in Castlebar in the early hours of April 24, 2018.
A Garda patrol observed the stolen car racing through a stop light on Station Road and almost hitting an oncoming vehicle. The gardaí gave chase, but the Oktavia stopped suddenly in Ballyheane and reversed straight into the patrol car.
The stolen car moved off before stopping and reversing into the patrol car again, leaving two gardaí injured and the car beyond repair.
In Partry, Garda Tom Fleming gave chase to the Octavia when it turned up a side road, but it swung around and drive at him, colliding with his vehicle.
The stolen car then raced towards Ballinrobe, where it was observed speeding through the town with its lights off and often on the wrong side of the road.
Gardaí again gave chase, and in Hollymount the Octavia stopped and reversed at speed towards the patrol car. The gardaí took evasive action but the stolen car then turned around and drove at the patrol car, causing severe damage to the vehicle.
Other garda vehicles gave chase and the Skoda eventually crashed and landed on its roof at The Neale, with Mr McHale, a minor and another man inside the vehicle.
Judge McCabe said that McHale’s actions were extremely serious and at the higher end of the scale. He said that the episode was aggravated further by the fact that McHale was driving while disqualified.
“There is a high risk of reoffending, and the circumstances are just too gross to mitigate the sentence,” he added, before imposing a four-year sentence.