Crash driver caught out by airbag DNA evidence

Posted On 27 Mar 2015 at 12:56 pm

A driver who crashed his car and then claimed it had been stolen was caught after police proved his DNA was on the vehicle’s airbag.

Ciaran Fitzgerald smashed his Dacia Sandero into a Seat Exeo and a Toyota Avensis that were parked in Norton Road, Hove, at about 4am on 24 August last year.

The Dacia was so badly damaged that it could not be driven away so Fitzgerald abandoned it and fled. Later that day the 27-year-old, of Ruskin Road, Hove, called police to report his car stolen.

When Fitzgerald was invited to an interview about the reported theft, officers asked him for a DNA sample and revealed that a crime scene investigator had collected DNA from the Dacia’s driver’s airbag, which had gone off when the crash happened.

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Fitzgerald then admitted he had lied and accepted a police caution for perverting the course of justice.

He was also charged with driving without due care and attention, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident.

He pleaded guilty to all the charges when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 12 March.

Fitzgerald was given eight points on his licence, fined £183 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

PC Dan Patterson said: “Fitzgerald thought he could get away with crashing his car by claiming his vehicle had been stolen but good work by our CSIs meant we could prove he was behind the wheel when the impact happened.

“Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offence in itself. If you are involved in a crash, stay put and call us so that we can investigate.”

If you see someone leave the scene of an accident call 999 if you are near a phone or report the details of the vehicle later online by visiting www.operationcrackdown.co.uk.

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