Driver suffered three skull fractures after being thrown from car

July 14, 2018

A driver was thrown out of his car and struck his head off a wall suffering three fractures to his skull after being hit side-on by another motorist.

Andrew Laird received serious injuries after being hit while driving into a garage in Castlefin on December 9th, 2014.

The man charged with causing the accident, Kieran Sweeney, 26, appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court where he was initially charged with dangerous driving causing serious harm.

However, this was reduced to careless driving causing serious harm to Mr Laird.

The court heard Sweeney was traveling in his red Vauxhall Cavalier on the N15 at Liscooley when the accident occurred.

He rounded a bend and came across Mr Laird who was driving across the road into a local garage.

Sweeney, of Trentaboy, Drumkeen, struck the side of the other car and sent it into a tailspin and send Mr laird flying from his car.

Judge John Aylmer was told that for some reason Mr Laird was not wearing a seatbelt and was flung from his car and banged his head off a wall beside the garage.

He spent a week in hospital having suffered three fractures to his skull as well as a bleed to the brain and is still attending Beaumont Hospital in Dublin for his brain injury.

He could not remember anything about the accident.

Accident scene investigators examined the scene and worked out that Sweeney was travelling in excess of 76kph in what was a 50kph zone.

Barrister for the accused, Mr Damian Crawford, said his client was somewhat impaired by a series of bends leading up to the crash.

He also pointed to the fact that his client was caught by surprise when Mr Laird crossed the road and had been trying to avoid him when the crash happened.

He said that although he accepted Sweeney was driving in excess of the speed limit, Garda forensic investigators had accepted that the speed of 76kph would have allowed the accused to slow down enough to avoid the collision.

The court was told that Sweeney had a number of previous convictions including some for possession of drugs before this particular incident.

Mr Crawford said his client was a 26-year-old father of one who was in a stable relationship and came from a very good family.

He suggested that but for Mr Laird’s injuries which examiners had said were greatly contributed to by the absence of a seat-belt, the case may have been heard in the District Court.

Passing sentence, Judge John Aylmer said he placed the offense at the lower end of the scale.

He noted the victim’s injuries but said there were contributory factors to these and principle was the fact that he was not wearing a seatbelt.

He added that Mr Laird may never have been thrown from his car and struck his head if he had been wearing his seatbelt.

He said he did not consider the accused merited a custodial sentence but would deal with the charge by way of a fine.

He also noted that there was a mandatory four-year driving disqualification in the case.

He said Sweeney’s family are involved in the haulage business and that he would sorely miss his license for the next four years.

He imposed a fine of €1,500 and allowed him 12 months to pay.


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