Donegal mother left terrified after car rammed from behind

July 26, 2023

A woman has told how she feared herself and her son were going to be rammed into a ditch by a dangerous driver.

Carmel Gibson recalled the terrifying incident on March 6, 2022 on the main N14 Letterkenny to Lifford Road at Galdonagh.

She was called to give evidence at Letterkenny District Court against a man charged with dangeorous driving.

The driver of the other vehicle, Christopher Grant, was due to appear before the court but the 33-year-old did not appear when the case was heard.

Grant, with an address of Iniscarn Road, Desertmartin, County Derry, was arrested that night by the PSNI having collided with a traffic island after crossing Lifford Bridge.

Ms Gibson collected her son in Letterkenny and was travelling on the road at Galdonagh when she spotted headlights behind her. “They appeared out of nowhere,” she said.

Ms Gibson felt a nudge, but was unsure and drove on. Having felt another nudge in the back of her car, Ms Gibson sped up as she felt unsafe.

“A car came flying and rammed into the back of me,” she said. “Where he rammed me, there was a drop at the side of the road and I was scared that he was going to ram us into it.”

The quick-thinking Ms Gibson got her son to ring An Garda Siochana. At the Ballinalecky crossroads, the other car overtook Ms Gibson, who pulled into a lay-by.

She remembered: “He was on the wrong side of the road when he overtook me. I lost sight of him when he got around the corner.”

Photographic evidence of the damage caused to Ms Gibson’s car was submitted to the court.

Ms Gibson’s son recalled the incident and how the other vehicle, a white BMW, was ‘swerving over and back’ as it overtook them.

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham proceeded with the case in Grant’s absence.

Garda Sinead McLaughlin gave evidence of taking a statement in which Ms Gibson told how the offending vehicle was ‘crossing over and back the road’ and navigated corners on the wrong side of the road.

All incidents occurred in public places on the Letterkenny-Lifford road, the court heard.

Garda McLaughlin said the white BMW collided with a second car at The Common in Lifford before continuing across the bridge. At the Strabane side of the bridge, the BMW collided with a traffic island and Grant was arrested by the PSNI.

Judge Cunningham said she found the facts in the case proven.

The charges were of a ‘significant and serious nature’, Judge Cunningham said, noting that Grant was served with notice of proceedings.

The matter was adjourned until September 4 for sentencing with Grant to be notified.