Drove off with customs official on the bonnet

A woman who drove almost 20 metres with a customs officer on the bonnet of her Northern reg five series BMW appeared in Letterkenny District Charges on motoring offences.

A woman who drove almost 20 metres with a customs officer on the bonnet of her Northern reg five series BMW appeared in Letterkenny District Charges on motoring offences.

Caroline Duggan of 51 Hawthorn Hill, Newtoncunningham, was charged with dangerous driving 
at Newtoncunningham on October 21, 2011.

Letterkenny District Court heard the defendant was observed driving the car by customs officials who signalled her to stop but she drove off “at speed” over taking a school bus and three cars on a continuous white line. She drove towards another Customs checkpoint operating in the area that was dealing with a motorist when one of the officers attempted to stop her car before he was pushed onto the bonnet where he stayed until the car stopped 20 metres away. He was uninjured in the incident.

While he was on the bonnet Duggan told him to “get the f**k off my car” and refused to get out, the court heard.

The court heard he had put up both hands for the vehicle to stop but it pressed against his shins and threw him on to the bonnet.

Once the car came to a stop gardai noticed there was also a three year old child in the vehicle.

The same motorist was stopped by customs officials two days before the incident when she gave her name as “Caroline Martin” with an address at Killea Road, Derry.

Solicitor Kieran Dillon argued that it was an “unfortunate incident” and she did not intend to run into the official as she first believed she was being waved on by him as there was “a full lane to go past him”.

He added the 33-year-old had 
been dropping the children to school that morning and was “frightened out of her wits” by the incident but it “defied logic” the man was not hurt if the incident happened as described.

The car was seized and she was forced to sell it to rise the €1,000 penalty imposed to release it.

Judge Paul Kelly asked why she refused to get out of the car the solicitor stated she had “panicked” but later co-operated with the authorities.

He added he could think of “few things more dangerous.”

Judge Kelly said: “There is little more frightening than being 
approached by a car at any 
speed, not to mention having a three year old in it.”

“She knew what she was doing as she had been stopped two days earlier. It was entirely brought about by her own behaviour,” he said.

He also hit out the attitude of people in his jurisdiction and their attitude to customs officials in the border areas.

Judge Kelly ordered her to complete a four week driving course and adjourned sentencing to 
November 15.