Judge says County Antrim teenager could have killed someone after crashing car onto roof with three passengers inside during police pursuit

Judge says County Antrim teenager could have killed someone after crashing car onto roof with three passengers inside during police pursuit

A YOUNG Carrickfergus motorist who made off from police and crashed his car with three passengers onto its roof in field was lucky someone wasn't killed, a judge said.

District Judge Nigel Broderick was speaking at Antrim Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena, regarding David Purcell (19), of New Line.

The defendant pleaed guilty to dangerous driving; failing to stop for police; and insurance, licence and MOT offences relating to an incident in the Templepatrick area.

Around 6.30pm on February 4 this year police saw a Volkswagen Golf at Sevenmilestraight and signalled for it stop.

They put on blue lights and sirens but the vehicle accelerated and officers followed, Court News NI can report.

Purcell was driving in excess of the speed limit on a "damp night" when roads were "slippery".

At a junction he almost collided with another vehicle and at Clady Road the defendant "lost control, leaving the road into a field, before driving into a ditch and rolling the car onto its roof where the vehicle came to rest".

Purcell "crawled" out and ran across a field but was "captured" by police.

The defendant told police he had no licence nor insurance and had "panicked" when he saw officers.

When cautioned, he replied: "Apologies".

When interviewed he said he had gone for a drive to "clear his head" and was accompanied to collect car parts.

A defence lawyer said there had been "immature decision making".

Judge Brodeick said: "He is lucky he didn't kill everybody".

He told the defendant: "You are quite fortunate that there wasn't a fatality. You were driving at high speed on a dark night with a slippy road due to the rain and that resulted in you crashing into a field and ditch and the car went on its roof and there were three other passengers.

"This is a serous offence and could easily have resulted in significant injury if not worse. Thankfully there doesn't appear to have been any significant injuries but that is just by good fortune, nothing else".

Purcell was ordered to do 80 hours of Community Service; put on Probation for a year; was banned from driving for a year and fined £75.