Three-and-a-half year sentence handed down at Tullamore Circuit Court
A man who has been jailed for causing the death of a woman in a head-on collision in Laois was disqualified from driving at the time, a court heard this week.
Jacek Huba of Bianconi Way, Portlaoise, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for dangerous driving causing the death of 48-year-old mother of four Joanne Doyle at Coolrain, Ballickmoyler on February 23, 2018.
The 44-year old Polish native, who was also disqualified from driving for 30 years, crashed into the woman's car on the main Portlaoise to Carlow road when he overtook a large truck without checking to see that the way was clear.
Judge Keenan Johnson told a sentencing hearing at Tullamore Circuit Court on Friday, November 27 that Huba had been banned from driving for four years in April 2017 and then obtained insurance by falsely declaring he was not disqualified.
Subsequent to the fatal collision which claimed the life of Ms Doyle, who died at the scene, Mr Huba took a car without authorisation and drove it without insurance.
He was sentenced to eight months in prison and banned from driving for eight years for that offence.
“It beggars belief that the accused would drive a car when he was still disqualified and while these proceedings were pending,” said Judge Johnson.
The court heard the victim's second daughter, Anna Lisa Brennan, had gone looking for her mother when she did not return home on the day of the crash and came on the scene of the accident.
The deceased lived at Gurteen, Ballickmoyler, about 5km from where the crash occurred on the N80.
Gardai at the scene told Anna Lisa that her mother, who was on her way to pick up one of her other daughters, had passed away.
“It is hard to imagine a more horrific and shocking experience,” said Judge Johnson.
Anna Lisa Brennan's victim impact statement also outlined how the oldest of the four children, Hannah, had Down Syndrome and the victim was her carer.
The statement indicated Ms Doyle had been a fantastic advocate for Hannah which resulted in her being one of the first people in Ireland with Down Syndrome to sit her Leaving Certificate.
Ms Doyle's other two daughters, Ava and Cara, were only 13 and 18 at the time of her death.
Judge Johnson said the life-changing injuries suffered by Mr Huba in the collision were mitigating factors in sentencing.
The man sustained an acquired brain injury, fractured vertebrae, and a broken arm and leg, resulting in him spending seven weeks in hospital.
After committing the offences Mr Huba descended into drinking, was disowned by his partner and was cut off from access to his child.
He became a homeless unemployed vagrant and subsequently surrendered his bail and went into custody on May 15, 2019.
The sentence was backdated to October 1, 2019.