POLICE spotted an Audi A4 doing around 70mph on the M2 motorway with a front tyre missing and the driver claimed he had not immediately pulled in because he was "concerned about the availability of emergency services" at the start of the Covid pandemic.
Details emerged as Eamon James Dougan (46), of Creeve Road near Randalstown, admitted dangerous driving between Sandyknowes Roundabout and an Applegreen service station (main picture from Google Maps) on April 23 last year.
He was also uninsured; had no driving licence which had expired in 2017, and had other defective tyres.
A prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, that around 9.30pm police saw the car doing around 70mph and it "had no tyre present on its front offside wheel".
The prosecutor said the three remaining tyres were all defective.
Defence barrister Chris Sherrard said the defendant had lost his job as a construction site manager at the start of the pandemic but is now working as a bricklayer in London.
The lawyer said Dougan had been suffering with mental health difficulties and "severe low mood" at the time of the offences.
The barrister said on the date in question the defendant had been driving past Mallusk when he had a tyre "blow out" and he realises he should have pulled over onto the hard shoulder but he was "concerned about the availability of emergency services because of the onset of the pandemic".
He said Dougan had taken the decison to continue on with a view to stopping at the Applegreen and was "very regretful".
The lawyer said the defendant normally took good care of the vehicle but it could not be serviced as a number of garages were closed at the start of the pandemic.
The defendant was banned from driving for a year and fined £600.