A drunk-driver who killed two women in a horrific car crash blamed one of the women for driving the car.
Dermot Dowd appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court after pleading guilty to causing a crash which resulted in the deaths of friends Kiara Baird, aged 19 and Maria Wallace, aged 38.
The two pals died when Dowd, 24, ploughed into a lamppost on the outskirts of Ballybofey in September, 2016.
Dowd had downed several drinks before driving out the Glenfin Road, losing control of the car and striking a lamppost.
When Gardai rushed to the scenes, they found the two victims had been thrown from the Citroën C3 car just after 4pm in the afternoon.
Dowd initially told Gardai at the scene that Ms Wallace had been driving the car.
He was rushed to Letterkenny General Hospital but Kiara Baird died at the scene.
Ms Wallace was still breathing and was also rushed to hospital but died a short time later from her injuries.
Dowd, of Donegal Road, Ballybofey, yesterday (Tues) pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the women’s deaths, dangerous driving, drink-driving, driving without insurance and driving without a license.
The court heard how both women had been studying a course with the Education Training Board (ETB) and had decided to go for a couple of drinks in Bonner’s Bar in Ballybofey on the afternoon of September 21st.
They met Dowd in the bar and they began drinking together.
Around 4pm, all three got into Ms Wallace’s car and CCTV footage showed Dowd having a number of near misses before travelling out the Glenfin Road.
A couple of minutes later he was to lose control of the car, hit a footpath and then strike a lamppost.
Garda forensic evidence revealed that after it had rained, the road became dry and that weather was not a factor in the crash.
Ms Wallace’s car was also in a serviceable condition and was not a factor in the crash on the road which is governed by a 60 kmph speed limit.
The families of the two dead women sat in court listening to the harrowing details of how their loved ones died.
In a victim impact statement, Kiara Baird’s mother Tracy told how they had moved from Dublin to Donegal to start a new life as they felt their neighbourhood was getting rough.
She told how her daughter was a little naive and innocent and took people at face value but how she had the most beautiful smile and was always so happy.
She said her life had changed forever since she lost her first-born child.
“There will always be a big part of me missing with her gone. I really could never express how much I miss and love her, and how lost we all are without her.
“I have lost people in my life who I have truly cared about, but the loss of Kiara was nothing I have ever experienced.
“It’s like something broke into my chest and just ripped out my heart,” she said.
Maria Wallace’s mum Mary McGonagle’s victim impact statement was also read into court.
She said that all she wanted was justice for her daughter.
“For me there is no pills or operation I could have to heal my broken heart.
“All I do now is stand beside Maria’s grave and cry alone. I would have given anything to keep my coffin in her room to be near her and I still wish I could,” she said.
Further victim impact statements were read on behalf of Kiara’s dad Andrew Blake while a poem by Maria’s brother Michael was also read out.
Sitting in a grey tracksuit, the accused man sobbed throughout the case.
His barrister Mr Colm Smyth, SC, said his client had often wondered why he was not killed in the accident.
“He is troubled by the fact that he survived this accident and his two passengers did not.
“He full accepts full responsibility and that he needs to be punished. But regardless of the sentence, he will be doing the sentence for the rest of his life,” he said.
The court was also told that Dowd has 30 previous convictions for a range of offences including theft and the sale and supply of drugs but has no convictions for traffic offences.
Judge John Aylmer adjourning sentencing until this Friday.