Man in funeral cortege caused crash after pulling into petrol station

September 8, 2018

A Fanad man traveling in a funeral cortege pulled into a filling station causing an oncoming vehicle to crash into him.

The man, James Friel, pleaded guilty to charges before a recent sitting of Letterkenny District Court.

Inspector Shaun Grant outlined details of the case against Mr Friel of Ballymichael, Ballylar PO arising from events on February 6, last year at Loughnakey, Milford.

Judge Paul Kelly heard that on the date in question, a Ms Caroline Dorrian had been driving in the direction of Letterkenny when the head-on-collision took place with the defendant’s Peugeot Partner van.

James Friel had been travelling in a cortege taking the remains of his neighbour from Letterkenny University Hospital to the wake house.

He realised that his van was running out of fuel and turned right across the path of the oncoming vehicle as he attempted to enter the Applegreen service station. The incident was captured on CCTV.

Solicitor for the defendant, Kieran Dillon, told the court that the incident occurred at dusk, at approximately 6.48pm and said his 35-year-old client “simply didn’t see the oncoming vehicle”.

He said the father of four is a part-time farmer and stressed that matters have been resolved civilly between both insurance companies.

Mr Dillon added: “This incident has caused grave concern and worry to my client who is otherwise of good character. This was a genuine mistake.”

Judge Kelly noted that the defendant has no previous convictions and said it was a case of an “unfortunate accident rather than bad driving”. He proceeded to give the defendant the benefit of the Probation Act, meaning a conviction will not be recorded against him.