A 20-year-old man, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drink driving following an incident in which his car hit a garda patrol car injuring three gardaí, has been ordered to do 240 hours of community service in lieu of a prison sentence.

One of the gardaí suffered a miscarriage following the crash, in which David Judge's car became airborne as it sped across dips in the road before hitting the garda car.

Mr Judge, a part-time gardener from Culfadda, Ballymote, Co Sligo, admitted the charges at Sligo District Court.

The court heard that the garda car saw the car driven by Mr Judge "flying through the dips in the road" and pulled into the side as far as possible, but the road was only 2.7m wide and it struck the garda car head on.

Judge Kevin Kilraine said the speed at which Mr Judge was travelling was quite shocking and the crash had tragic consequences.

It resulted, he said, in a fatality, namely the loss of life of the garda's unborn baby.

He said Mr Judge’s remorse did not really take away from the consequences.

Referring to a previous conviction for careless driving, he said he had not learned from that when his car got a "soft landing in a field".

Judge Kilraine said Mr Judge deserved to be sent to prison but he imposed a community service order in lieu of a prison term in light of submissions from his solicitor.

The accused had spent a week in St Patrick’s Institution since he pleaded guilty to the charges and he told the court that he was bullied there and that he was scared.