Paul O'Hagan: Jail for drink-driver in 100mph crash

The Courthouse at Bishop Street in Derry

A drink-driver has been jailed for driving at more than 100mph before he crashed into another car driven by a woman in her seventies.

Paul Martin O'Hagan from Draperstown, County Londonderry, admitted drink-driving and causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving.

Three women were injured in the collision between Bellaghy and Gulladuff, on 6 May, 2017.

The court heard he had asked a female passenger to say she had been driving.

O'Hagan also pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and to failing to provide a blood specimen.

The court was told O'Hagan was driving a female passenger, whom he had met in a bar, home.

As they approached the village of Gulladuff, and when the car was inside a 30mph zone, the passenger asked O'Hagan to slow down.

The passenger told the police: "I looked at the speedometer. It was over 100 mph.

"He continued the speed in the town. I kept saying to him slow down and shouting at him to slow down.

"I could see a vehicle in the distance which had its lights on. We approached this vehicle and Paul's was still travelling very fast. I shouted several times to Paul to watch the car and move but he continued to travel fast".

The woman told the police, who were called to the scene of the collision, that O'Hagan said to her: "You'll have to say you were driving. I'll go back to prison and I have a child."

The most seriously injured of the women underwent surgery for a fracture to her right radius and ulna. She also sustained fractures to her left ribs.

The court was told that when arrested, O'Hagan told police: "I am a disqualified driver and I shouldn't have been on the road".

O'Hagan, who was also injured in the crash, was taken to hospital but he refused to give a blood specimen.

He was interviewed twice but answered "no comment" to all questions.

The judge said O'Hagan, a car mechanic, had 43 previous convictions, all for motoring offences.

As well as being jailed for five years, O'Hagan was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.

"Driving in this manner is totally unacceptable and you are a danger to all road users. Fortunately, only one person was seriously injured and that is by sheer good fortune", he told O'Hagan.