Family plead with Judge not to jail driver who killed their son

May 5, 2019

The family of a young man who died in a horrific road crash has pleaded with a judge not to send his best friend to jail.

Evan Quinn was driving a car which hit a verge and then spun out of control killing pal Martin Strain and seriously injuring his girlfriend Kayleigh Fullerton in Inishowen on August 23rd, 2015.

The 19-year-old driver had just hours earlier been stopped by Gardai and told to replace two bald tyres.

However, in the early hours of the following morning, Quinn lost control of the car in horrific driving conditions at Tooban on the Inishowen Peninsula and killed his best friend.

The driver appeared for sentencing at Letterkenny Circuit Court where he pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death.

Quinn tested negative for drink and drugs but the court was told that his car had been defective.

Quinn, from Meenagorey, Buncrana and Mr Strain had collected Mr Strain’s girlfriend from Liberty’s nightclub and they were travelling onwards.

Around 4.30am near Tooban, Quinn failed to take a bend, mounted a grass verge and lost control of the car.

Garda forensic expert revealed how the car was sent into a clockwise spin and hit a kerb, a bus shelter, a lamp-post and finally a tree before coming to a stop.

The impact was so violent that the engine was thrown from the car.

Mr Strain, from Burnfoot, died at the scene and Ms Fullerton received various injuries but survived.

The court was told the driver was a ‘novice’ who had only been behind the wheel a number of months with a full license.

However, the late Mr Strain’s family said they did not want to see the driver put behind bars.

Mr Strain’s heartbroken father Hugh supported by his wife Elaine took to the witness box where he pleaded with Judge John Aylmer, not to jail the driver.

He admitted that they had been left with a void in their lives but he added that his “happy and hardworking” son would not have wanted Evan Quinn going to jail.

He said “We have forgiven Evan Quinn. What happened that night was a tragedy. But we are thankful that we have not been put through a trial.

“We want to let the world and the court know what a happy go lucky and hard-working son he was. Our hopes and dreams have been taken from us that we will never fulfil.

“He was a loving son and brother to Stephen. He was a friend to many, much more than we realised. He was loved by everyone.

“But we know that Martin would never have wanted Evan to have been sent to jail.”

The court was told by Quinn’s barrister Peter Nolan that his client’s own brother had been killed previously by a drunk driver and he was wracked with guilt over the death of his friend Martin.

He has not been behind the wheel since this incident, Mr Nolan added.

Judge John Aylmer said he would read the various reports in the case and deliver his sentence on Wednesday next.