Armed gardaí deployed a stinger device to stop a 15-year-old boy on cannabis racing a stolen car across north Dublin.
The boy, who had two passengers aged 14, reached speeds above 140km per hour during a high-speed pursuit, which involved five garda units.
Dublin Children’s Court heard he continued driving on punctured tyres and came to a halt after crashing into a parked car.
He pleaded guilty to motor theft, criminal damage, driving under the influence of cannabis, having no licence or insurance and multiple counts of dangerous driving on the night of November 23 last year.
Judge Paul Kelly adjourned sentencing the boy, now aged 16, for a probation report.
“He headed down on the inbound side against the traffic,” the garda said, adding that the boy “forced other vehicles to take avoidance action so as not to hit it”.
Garda Eccles spotted the car in Santry and activated his patrol vehicle’s lights and sirens. The teen failed to stop and drove at speed “with no regard for other road users or anyone else on the road”.
He headed onto Collins Avenue and reached speeds over 140km per hour as he went through a red light and turned onto another road.
Again, he raced straight through a red light at a junction with Malahide Road.
The boy steered right at Howth Road and went toward Fairview. Another patrol car from Ballymun station joined the pursuit at Griffith Avenue and onto Malahide Road.
A Malahide station patrol car took up the pursuit.
The boy drove over the stinger’s spikes and attempted to continue on punctured wheels through a set of red lights. Finally, he went into Greenwood Estate and crashed into a parked vehicle.
The entire chase lasted 10 minutes because of the high speeds.
The boy had a screwdriver, black gloves and vice grips that he admitted using to steal the car from outside its owners home in Blanchardstown.
He was tested and found to have cannabis in his system, Garda Eccles said.
The boy’s phone had numerous videos of cars damaged and driven dangerously. However, gardaí could not identify the vehicles because their registration plates were not visible.
The garda suspected they were “stolen cars being rallied and set on fire”.
Garda Eccles agreed with defence counsel Lily Casey that the boy had no prior criminal convictions.
The barrister said the boy, accompanied to court by his mother, was lucky there were no casualties in the life-threatening incident.
The boy, who is on bail, had been assessed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. His school highlighted it, but he never got support or medication, counsel said.
He has not come to further Garda attention and changed his peer group.