Student in Ballygawley 110mph chase ‘running late’

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A student who led police on a 11-mile chase while driving over 100mph on the A4 dual carriageway near Ballygawley, was running late to meet a friend.

Appearing at Dungannon Magistrates Court was Sarah McNiece, with an address at Cromore Road in Coleraine, who admitted charges of dangerous driving, excess speed and failing to stop for police.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court the incident occurred on the afternoon of October 11 last year while police were travelling on the A4 towards Ballygawley.

As they passed the Old Eglish Road junction, police noticed the car being driven by McNiece overtaking in the right hand lane.

Police then accelerated to 90mph in a bid to stop McNiece, and activated their lights and siren.

McNiece continued to increase her speed to 100mph, the court was told, and undertook a van before accelerating to 110mph.

According to the prosecutor, McNiece did not notice police until she was around 200 yards before the Ballygawley Roundabout.

In total, police had followed the defendant for a distance of 11 miles, the prosecutor added.

McNiece’s lawyer drew the court’s attention to his client’s previously clear record, and handed in a letter from her doctor, as well as a character reference.

The lawyer also explained that McNiece, who is studying Optometry at university, comes from a well respected family, however, he was then challenged by District Judge John Meehan: “You haven’t given an explanation of why she (defendant) went on an 11 mile car chase at 100mph.”

At this point in the hearing, McNiece’s lawyer said the defendant had been late to meet a friend in Enniskillen, but stressed that she appreciated she “should have pulled in at an earlier stage”.

In addition to being disqualified from driving for 12 months, McNiece was fined a total of £550.