By Gordon Deegan

An east Clare man reached speeds of 100km/h on his quad bike in a high speed chase with gardaí across four townlands near the village of Tulla over two years ago.

At Killaloe District Court sitting in Ennis, Judge Alec Gabbett banned 27-year-old Jake James of Uggoon Upper, Tulla, Co. Clare from driving for two years and told him that “you are very lucky you are not going to Limerick prison”.

Judge Gabbett said that quad bikes are “very dangerous”and said that James – who works in tree surgery and tree care – and his pillion passenger were not wearing helmets on the day.

Garda chase

Garda Darren McLoughlin told the court that the chase continued for 6.8km and he terminated the chase due to safety considerations for Jake James and his pillion passenger.

Garda McLoughlin said that James’ unregistered green Yamaha quad bike reached speeds of 100km/h during the chase through the townlands that included Rine, Drumullan and Milltown.

Judge Gabbett imposed a two-year driving ban and imposed a fine of €300 on James for driving with no insurance, and it was James’ second conviction for driving with no insurance.

The tree surgeon had been charged with dangerous driving and Judge Gabbett instead convicted him of careless driving on June 24, 2020 and fined him €200.

The judge also imposed 40 hours community work on James in lieu of two months in prison for failing to stop for Garda McLoughlin on the date.

In evidence, Garda McLoughlin said that during the chase, he activated the blue lights and sirens and James failed to stop.

The garda added that “the driving was quite dangerous, but he didn’t exceed speed by more than 20km/h at any time because I was behind the whole time matching pace with the quad bike”.

Garda McLoughlin said that he terminated the chase when James drove his quad bike into a field to go cross country.

The garda explained that James later told him that he didn’t stop as the lights on the patrol car “had freaked him out”.

Garda McLoughlin said that he first came across James driving his quad bike at a speed of 90km/h on a street in Tulla before he turned off onto a local road.

James has a previous conviction for no insurance and dangerous driving from 2014. Solicitor for Jake James, Stiofan Fitzpatrick said that his client was not in a good head space at the time

He said: “Mr. James just wasn’t thinking straight on the day. Obviously, the facts are extremely dramatic – he went through a number of townlands, but it is the one offence.”