Community service for Larne man who crashed into 3 police cars

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A LARNE man wearing a balaclava whilst driving said it was to stop the PSNI from identifying him as he was previously banned from the road.

However, he quickly came to police attention - when he crashed in to three squad cars.

Ballymena Magistrates Court was told on Thursday that “substantial damage” was caused to the trio of police vehicles which had been parked while a property search was ongoing at Larne’s Killyglen Road on the afternoon of Saturday September 17 last year.

Alan Humphrys (28), of Churchill Road, had taken a cocktail of drugs and he claimed it was an accident and that he had “blacked out” before his red Hyundai car smashed into the police vehicles.

A police sergeant in one of the cars had to be taken to hospital for injuries to his back, chest and arms.

The prosecutor said both Humphrys and a front seat passenger in his car were wearing balaclavas and after the crash both attempted to escape but the defendant was caught, although the passenger got away.

Police suspected Humphrys was on drugs and a blood sample showed traces of cocaine, Diazepam, Temazepam and amphetamines.

The prosecutor said “substantial damage” was caused to police vehicles.

The prosecuting lawyer said the defendant told police he bought the Hyundai for £150 in Belfast after responding to an ad on Gumtree by dialling from a payphone.

He claimed he was intending to do it up and was driving from his home to his mother’s house and “wore a balaclava so police would not recognise him, as he was previously banned from driving”.

Humphrys said his friend was wearing their balaclava “for fun”.

The defendant told officers the crash was an accident.

At a previous High Court bail application related to the case it had been alleged Humphrys deliberately crashed into three parked police cars in an attempt to hinder a burglary investigation.

It was also claimed in the High Court that at the time of the incident Humphrys was on police bail in connection with the suspected break-in.

He had been originally charged with dangerous driving but that was withdrawn. Last month he pleaded guilty to charges of driving while unfit; no driving licence, no insurance, driving without due care and attention and resisting police and on Thursday he was back at Ballymena Court for sentencing.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said originally Humphrys had been arrested for “attempted murder” arising out of the incident. The defendant had never been charged with that.

On the date of the offences, Mr Thompson said Humphrys had “blacked out at the point of collision”.

He added that “something extremely foolish happened that day” and said the defendant had already spent four weeks in custody in relation to the matter.

Humphrys was put on Probation for a year along with 100 hours Community Service and banned from driving for three years.

District Judge Peter King said it was clear that from the evidence in front of him that Humphrys had “benefited from a relatively light charge sheet” and said he could only sentence the defendant for the matters in front of him.

At the time of the incident, the PSNI Larne Facebook page said three police vehicle were withdrawn from service and whilst they said that initially impacted on their capability to respond to calls they drafted in vehicles from other areas.