Car must have “dropped out of sky’ it was going so fast before crash

June 4, 2021

A man convicted of dangerous driving must have “dropped out of the sky” he was driving so fast, a court has been told.

Gary Cole appeared before Letterkenny District Court where he faced a number of charges including drink-driving, not having insurance as well as dangerous driving.

The charges followed an incident in the centre of Convoy when a local woman was left injured days before Christmas in 2018 when her BMW car was rear-ended.

Cole is originally from Letterkenny but now has an address in Kinlough, Co Leitrim.

Marisa Whoriskey told the court she had come out of Harrison’s Gala station to go home when she was hit from behind by another car which sent her into a tailspin.

Her foot got stuck under the pedal of the car and she froze from fright.

She was eventually rushed to Letterkenny University Hospital where doctors suspected she had a spinal injury but she was finally released on Christmas Day.

Witness to the accident Alan Buchanan was returning from Derry having had a meal with his wife Helen.

Ms Buchanan was driving and slowed down to allow Ms Whoriskey exit the garage.

Mr Buchanan said as they slowed down he could see there was nothing behind them and Ms Whoriskey was four to five car lengths in front of them.

However, he added that a car suddenly came from nowhere, overtook them at speed and crashed into the back of Ms Whoriskey sending her spinning around on the road.

“It was like it fell out of the sky it was traveling that fast,” he said.

Solicitor for Cole, Mr Kieran O’Gorman put it to Mr Buchanan that such a scenario could not happen but Mr Buchanan said he knew what he seen.

He told Mr O’Gorman that the car was traveling at speed and that the speed limit for that area was 50kph.

The solicitor asked Mr Buchanan if the court was to believe that the car traveled 200 metres in a matter of seconds and the witness replied “Yes.”

He added that the car was already out of control when it passed them and that he didn’t even think there were brake-marks on the road before he struck Ms Whoriskey.

Another witness, a Ms McLaughlin told the court that she was out walking when she witnessed the incident at 9.50 or 9.51pm.

She told how she knew the woman hurt in the crash and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived on the scene to take her to hospital.

Garda Pat Geraghty told the court that he arrived and suspected the accused of drink-diving and took a breath sample from him which proved positive.

He took Mr Cole to Letterkenny Garda Station where he was charged with drink driving.

Solicitor Kieran O’Gorman said that in his opinion there was not enough evidence including evidence of the time of the incident to convict Mr Cole of dangerous driving.

The court heard that evidence of an insurance certificate was produced.

Before passing sentence, Judge Alan Mitchell said that in relation to the drink driving charge there was one vital piece of evidence missing – that Mr Cole was not told exactly why he was being arrested.

For this reason, he said he could not convict the accused on this charge.

However, he did accept the evidence of witnesses on the dangerous driving charge and found Mr Cole guilty of this.

He asked how much witness expenses were and was told €320.

Judge Mitchell fined Cole €200 and disqualified him from driving for two years.