A RAPHOE man has been disqualified from driving after a crash which left a woman in a back brace for six months.
Anita Robinson told Letterkenny District Court how she had to learn how to walk again and couldn’t move her legs for two days following the crash at Carricknamana, Killygordon on November 26, 2018.
William Cole was driving a Ford Focus van on the evening in question.
Garda Inspector Siobhán Mollahan told the court that another civilian witness, Charlie McHugh, was driving a Peugeot Partner van. Mr McHugh ‘basically seen the lights hit a tree and it (Cole’s vehicle) came out and hit his van. It happened so quickly that he had no chance to react.”
Ms Robinson was in the back of the Ford Focus van, Inspector Mollohan said. There were no seats or seat belts in the back of the van.
Cole, a 31-year-old lorry driver with an address at Tullyvinney, Raphoe was before the court charged with drink driving, dangerous driving, failing to produce a licence and failing to produce insurance.
Mr McHugh was uninjured, but his vehicle was written off. €1,500 of compensation was paid by Cole to Mr McHugh to cover the loss, the court heard.
Inspector Mollahan said Ms Robinson ‘had a feeling it was going to happen because he was driving too fast’. “She will say that he was under the influence and he was driving very fast,” Inspector Mollahan said.
Addressing Judge Paul Kelly, Ms Robinson said she fractured two bones in her spine and fractured her knee.
“I had to learn to walk again and couldn’t move my legs for two days,” she said. “I was in a brace for six months.”
Solicitor for Cole, Mr Ciaran Mac Lochlainn, said: “My client was driving on a road that he didn’t know. He pulled in too tight to the margin and he compensated by pulling too far to the right. There was no mad driving.”
Mr MacLochlainn said Cole had completed the ProSocial Driving Course.
Judge Paul Kelly said he was unable to reduce a dangerous driving charge to one of careless driving.
“Ms Robinson’s statement is the elephant in the room,” he said. “Given the nature of her injuries, it’s not appropriate for a careless driving charge.”
Mr MacLochlainn said he is ‘convinced’ that his client was insured on the evening in question. “The difficulty that we have comes from the owner of the vehicle.” he said.
The court heard that Cole was previously disqualified for four years for drink driving.
On the dangerous driving charge, Judge Kelly banned Cole from driving for one year, taking into account his completion of the ProSocial Driving Course. Cole was fined €250 and given six months to pay.
For driving without insurance, Cole was disqualified from driving for two years and fined €200.
The ban will come into effect on September 1.
Recognisance in the event of an appeal was fixed in Cole’s own bond of €250.