November 6, 2013

A man killed by a drunk-driver had pleaded with him to slow down just minutes before he was killed.Letterkenny Court house

Stephen McElwaine, 34, died after the car being driven by his friend Barry McFadden, 34, crashed near Stranorlar in June last year.

The friends had been working plastering all day and McFadden had decided to go for a drink.

McFadden, of Drumkeen, admitted being drunk, causing death by dangerous driving, and a number of other motoring offences.

Another friend in the car, Jason Ward, later told officers that McFadden was speeding and that Mr McElwaine had pleaded for his to slow down.

Sgt Kevin Lynch said none of the three had been wearing seatbelts and McElwaine was trapped under the van when Gardai arrived at the crash in Ballynaglack.

He was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital but he died there on June 18.

Forensic experts found the van was travelling at 104km/hr in an 80 kph zone with a bald tyre.

Members of Mr McElwaine’s family sat in the court but refused to give evidence.

“They wish to keep their grief private,” said Patricia McLaughlin, prosecuting.

Defence counsel Brian Walsh said the incident had “blown” two families apart.

The court heard McFadden accepted full responsibility for the death of his friend and was deeply remorseful.

Judge John O’Hagan said he accepted that McFadden had shown genuine remorse.

“He has sentenced himself. Every waking day for the rest of his life he is going to have to live with this. He is going to have that sense of guilt and remorse forever.”

The judge jailed McFadden for four years for causing death by dangerous driving but suspended the last year.

He was also given two concurrent six month jail terms for drink-driving and driving whilst disqualified and banned him for driving for ten years

McElwaine’s family wept as the sentence was passed.