A bank employee who accidentally drove past a local supermarket while intoxicated was fined and banned from driving for three years.
CCTV footage was shown in the courtroom of 48-year-old John Fanning. After trying to park his black Jaguar, he drives through a storefront into a supermarket and crashes into a fruit and vegetable stand.
He told Gardai that he was trying to park when he slipped on the accelerator.
The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard that Fanning is a well-known customer of the shop and welcomes him back.
“It probably wasn’t the way he arrived that day,” said Judge Martin Nolan.
Fanning of Shenick Road, Skerries, Dublin pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and DUI at a C&T supermarket in Skerries just after 1pm on 17 September 2019.
He has no criminal record. Judge Nolan said CCTV had revealed what happened that day, Fanning arrived to go to the chemist and hit the accelerator instead of the brake. said.
The judge took into account that Fanning had a strong career and that the guilty plea was to his credit.
He felt Fanning didn’t deserve a period of detention.
Judge Nolan fined him €2,000 and banned Fanning from driving for three years.
He granted the request on the condition that he postponed his disqualification until February 1 and promised not to drink during this time to give Fanning time to prepare for his elderly mother.
Garda Shaun McElroy told prosecutor’s attorney Siobhán Ní Chúlacháin that members of the Dublin Fire Brigade were at the store in the morning and were witnesses to the event.
He said the man heard the crash and saw the car fully enter the store.
He told Gardai he smelled a strong alcoholic smell coming from a driver who said his foot got stuck in the car’s accelerator.
Gda McElroy said when Fanning arrived he said he slipped on the accelerator and crossed the sidewalk into the store.
He also smelled alcohol and noticed that Fanning’s eyes were bloodshot.
Fanning admitted he was drinking, but said he wasn’t drinking much.
He had a breath test and was found to have an alcohol concentration of 72 micrograms per 100 ml of breath (mcg). The legal drunk driving limit was his 22mcg/100ml exhaled breath, meaning he was three times his legal limit.
The shop owner told Gardai that he would have to close the shop for the day and consult a structural engineer. According to Gda McElroy, the shop’s repair costs totaled around €30,000.
Gda McElroy agreed with defense counsel that the shop owner was fully covered by insurance.
Fanning’s attorney said his client had fallen ill shortly before these events and drank brandy to calm his stomach.
He said this wasn’t working, and Fanning was on his way to a chemist for an over-the-counter drug when the accident happened.
The attorney said a “confluence of problems” in the client’s life at this point caused Fanning a lot of stress, leading to a “perfect storm” that culminated in this event.