Helicopter used to find drunk teenager

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A Donegal man who admitted an appalling piece of driving was told he could have killed himself or someone else.

Londonderry Magistrates’ Court was told a helicopter had to be deployed to find Dominic Keys (19), after he fled from the scene of a crash at Madam’s Bank Road.

Keys, of Whitehill, St Johnston, admitted driving with excess alcohol and driving without due care and attention on February 6, failing to stop and remain at the scene of the accident and failing to report it to police.

Police received numerous reports of a vehicle being driven at speed and colliding with traffic lights on the Madam’s Bank Road. Substantial damage was caused to the lights and they were temporarily inoperative as a result.

The teenager fled the scene and he was followed by members of the public. He ran into a nearby garden to evade capture.

The court was told the helicopter was use to find Keys and he was detected hiding in some undergrowth in the garden of a Culmore Road property.

Camera footage from a taxi showed the defendant standing beside the car and then running off. A breath test gave a reading of 75mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, twice the legal limit.

During police interview, Keys initially denied the offences, but later admitted he took his father’s car without permission, had no insurance and panicked after the crash.

District Judge Barney McElholm said his driving was appalling and fined him of £1,100 and banned him from driving for 18 months. The disqualification will also apply in the Republic.