Banned motorist told police: I was drunk and crashed into them all, I’m an idiot

A banned motorist who allegedly crashed into another car, sparking fears one victim had suffered life-changing injuries, declared himself “an idiot”, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 3:52 pm
Laganside court complex in Belfast city centre.

Prosecutors also claimed Gerard McTasney, 42, was well over the drink-drive limit at the time of last week’s collision in Lisburn, Co Antrim.

Up to three people in the second vehicle were hurt, including one man transported to hospital on a spinal board by air ambulance.

McTasney, of Main Street in Glenavy, is charged with driving while disqualified and unfit through drink or drugs, causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, and having no insurance.

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The court heard the father of six was in an Audi A3 involved in a serious two-car collision on the Rock Road shortly after midday on May 6. McTasney allegedly struggled with paramedics at the scene and tried to pull wires out of his arm.

According to Fiona O’Kane, prosecuting, a breath test carried out seven hours later revealed he was more than two times over the legal limit.

She said he told police: “I drove down the road, I was drunk and crashed into them all, I’m an idiot.”

One victim was taken to hospital with severe abdominal and back pain, another sustained a broken arm, while a third suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder.

“There were concerns that at least one of them had life-changing injuries,” Mrs O’Kane said.

Opposing McTasney’s application for bail, she argued: “He has an issue with alcohol, putting other road users and individuals on the street at risk while driving dangerously under the influence.”

Defence counsel Conn O’Neill attributed his client’s drink problems to a “bombardment” of family bereavements.

The barrister also submitted: “I believe the injuries (sustained) are perhaps not as bad as first feared.”

During exchanges Mr Justice Rooney said: “Here’s a man who could easily have killed one of those people in the car, you just can’t walk away from that.”

However, he decided to grant bail based on McTasney’s parental role to six children and defence assurances that he no longer has access to a car.

Imposing an alcohol ban and electronic tagging, the judge also ordered: “He is not to drive or allow himself to be carried in any private motor vehicle.”