A LIMERICK teenage girl, who suffered a serious head injury in a crash in which the driver was killed, is to receive €1.25 million in settlement of her High Court action.
Ciara Kelly, of Hilltop, St Patrick’s Road, was 15 when she fell asleep in the backseat of a car which careered off the road and crashed into a tree near Glenstal Abbey, six years ago.
The 16-year-old female driver, also from Limerick, was killed in the crash.
Approving the €1.25 million settlement, Ms Justice Mary Irvine said the case was a tragedy “of enormous proportions” for Ms Kelly and for the young lady who died, Noreen Casey, in an incident driven by alcohol.
The judge was told the deceased had taken the keys of the car without the permission of its owner, who had earlier taken the keys from her.
Ms Kelly, had, through her mother Annette Kelly, sued the owner of the car as well as the estate of Ms Casey, Grange West, Boher, Murroe, and the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland.
The settlement was against the insurance bureau as Ms Casey was not covered by insurance at the time of the crash on November 11, 2006.
The incident occurred just after 6.30am near the entrance to Glenstal Abbey.
Ms Kelly claimed she continued to suffer physical pain, mental distress and discomfort, and also suffered a diminution of her enjoyment of life, was restricted in her everyday activities and had learning difficulties.
She claimed she sustained a significant closed head trauma, a fracture of her right femur and has developed post-traumatic epilepsy.
Counsel for Ms Kelly, Michael J Mc Mahon SC, said she had told her father she was staying overnight at a friend’s house, but decided instead to attend an “all nighter”.
Ms Casey had a large quantity of drink taken and had been told twice not to drive the car.
The owner of the car, Counsel said, had a “ free gaff”, but later threw the young people out and told others to tidy up the house. Ms Kelly and a friend decided to get in car to sleep the night.
Counsel said the owner of the car took the keys off the young woman and he went to bed as he needed to be up for work the next day. However Ms Casey retrieved the keys.
Ms Kelly has also consumed alcohol but said she fell asleep in the vehicle, a 1993 Red Toyota Corolla hatchback, and the next thing she remembered was waking up in hospital.
She was said to be in a critical condition in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital following the crash.
The third occupant of the car, a teenage boy from Murroe, received minor injuries, according to media reports at the time.