A Limerick pensioner who is accused of knocking down and killing a hospital patient as he crossed the road in Dooradoyle has gone on trial at Limerick Circuit Court.
William McDermott, aged 72, of Embury Close, Adare has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Michael Doran at St Nessan’s Road on the evening of December 26, 2011.
The 69-year-old from Templemore, who was a patient at the then Mid Western Regional Hospital, died after he was knocked down as he was returning to the hospital from a nearby fast food restaurant.
Yesterdat, on the opening day of the trial, the jury of eight men and four women was told Mr Doran, who was suffering from a chest infection, left the hospital at around 7pm, and went to the local Supermacs restaurant where he had an ice-cream.
The pensioner, the court heard, was pushing a wheelchair to assist with his walking when he was knocked down as he was crossing the road near the roundabout at the entrance to the hospital.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said there was no suggestion the defendant was intoxicated or that he was “grossly over the speed limit” on the night.
“The prosecution case s that he hit someone he should have seen,” he told the jury.
Mr O’Sullivan added that the area where the accident happened was “well lit” as it is located in a built up area.
Irish Rail worker Harry Began, who witnessed the accident, described how he frantically tried to wave down the Nissan Micra car being driven by Mr McDermott moments before the accident.
Mr Began, who was walking with his wife in the direction of the Hi-way bar, told the jury he stepped out onto the road and waved his hands as he realised Mr Doran was not going to make it across the road in time as he was “moving very slowly”.
The witness described how the car failed to stop and passed him before hitting Mr Doran.
“There was a crunching sound and he was thrown into the air like a bowling pin. He somersaulted and landed on the ground,” he said.
The jury has been told that prior to being hit, Mr Doran had crossed the two inbound lanes - one of which is a bus lane.
According to Mr Began, he has just entered the outbound lane when he was struck.
It is the prosecution case that Mr McDermott, who was travelling out of the city had exited from a side road moments before the accident.
Forensic Collision Investigator, Garda James O’Brien, told the jury the location where the accident happened was a “smooth level road” with no potholes or undulations.
He added that there was not a pedestrian crossing at the location where the accident happened.
The trial, which continues before Judge Carroll Moran, is expected to continue into early next week.