A Galway man responsible for causing a traffic collision in which a car was written off and a woman driver was left in a cast for three months pleaded not guilty to a charge of dangerous driving at last week’s district court.
The court heard that the injured party, Ms Fiona Kirwan was off work for five months after she struck a car that pulled out across the road in front of her as she was driving at Rushall, Mountrath, on November 25, 2012.
After listening to the evidence Judge Catherine Staines finally reduced the charge to one of careless driving and convicted and fined Michael Molloy (60), of 64 Fairy Hill, Portumna, Galway.
Ms Kirwan gave evidence that it was a dark, wet, windy night and she was travelling at around 80 - 90km/h, when she saw the other vehicle “shooting across the road”. She said she did not get a chance to apply the brakes and crashed into the back of the car being driven by Molloy. She was taken to hospital where a CT scan of her back revealed a fracture to the vertebrae, which required her to wear a cast for three months.
Garda Michael Kenneally gave evidence that he attended the scene of the collision and found Ms Kirwan in severe pain. Molloy was disorientated, and could not recall any details of the crash.
Garda Kenneally said that Molloy told him he had been travelling from Dublin and claimed he had been rear-ended by Ms Kirwan. However, Garda Kenneally said that Molloy’s vehicle was facing Mountrath, the opposite direction from the one indicated.
“He was adamant that he hadn’t changed course... he couldn’t explain why he was facing that direction,” said Garda Kenneally.
The garda said that all damage to Ms Kirwan’s car was at the front, while all the damage to the defendant’s car was to the back, which would indicate a rear-ending.
Defending himself, Molloy claimed that on October 23, 2013, he had asked Garda Kenneally to show him the exact location of the accident and the garda was unable to do so.
“I showed him the exact area and he felt it had happened in a totally different location, the Pike of Rushall,” Garda Kenneally told Judge Staines, going on to say he had marked the location with paint.
Taking the stand, Molloy told the court he remembered getting “a belt from behind”. Inspector Aidan Farrelly put it to him that his car was facing the opposite direction than the one he had indicated, and asked could he have turned on the road.
“If I turned I would have remembered,” replied Molloy.
Judge Staines said she accepted Ms Kirwan’s evidence that Molloy’s car came out in front of her and she could not stop. However, she said if Molloy’s car had turned fully Ms Kirwan should have been able to apply her brakes.
“I believe there must have been some careless driving,” said the judge, fining Molloy €200.