A MAN who collided with a vehicle after doing a three-point turn on the Dublin road during rush-hour morning traffic has been fined €300 by Limerick District Court.
Anthony Duhig, 25, with an address in Coosane, Birdhill, pleaded not guilty to the charge of careless driving on March 15, 2011, near Annacotty at around 8am.
He was initially charged with dangerous driving, but this was later reduced to careless driving by the court.
Mr Duhig said he was driving to work in the city in a blue Ford Mondeo but realised near Finnegan’s pub that he had forgotten some of his work tools, and had to turn back to get them.
Ann Ryan, the driver of a silver Peugeot, said she was on the same stretch of road when the accused did a u-turn in front of her and hit her vehicle.
But solicitor Darach McCarthy pointed out that in her statement to gardai - some four months and two weeks after the alleged offence - she said he hit the side, and not the front of the vehicle.
In the witness box, Ms Ryan said she struggled to remember the exact sequence of events as she tried to erase the memory of the crash from her mind. “I was frightened. I got a shock. With something like that, you don’t want to recall it,” she said.
“I blacked out what happened, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get into my car and drive.”
She told Judge Eugene O’Kelly she had “no way” of avoiding the vehicle in front of her in the left lane, after it turned to the right to make the turn.
Mr McCarthy maintained that his client was “lawfully” making that turn.
Gardai attended the scene of the crash just outside Finnegan’s, and moved the vehicles to the side of the road “as traffic was built up”. Gardai viewed CCTV footage from Finnegan’s, but couldn’t download it due to a fault on the machine.
In the stand, Mr Duhig said there was no traffic on the opposite lane, and denied he reversed and consequently hit Ms Ryan to make the turn.
“I never reversed. I was travelling forward the whole time. I couldn’t tell you what she was doing to be honest,” he said. His father, who arrived at the scene after the collision, queried why the gardai did not take photographs of the scene before moving the vehicles.
Judge O’Kelly said he was satisfied the defendant either made a u-turn or a three-point turn, and said the turn could not have been undertaken lawfully, and had to have been done at speed. The judge said the defendant should have pulled into the margin to wait for traffic to clear fully.
As the defendant is currently serving a four year disqualification from driving, imposed after this offence, the judge said a consecutive ban could not be made. He was ordered to pay a fine of €300 within 12 weeks.