The scene of the collision between Croom and Adare
AN UNINSURED driver who fled the scene of crash in which a friend of his was seriously injured has been convicted of driving without insurance on two separate occasions since.
Brendan O’Connor, aged 35, of Kylefea, Croom has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to Paul O’Brien at Knockanes, Adare on June 25, 2017.
Mr O’Brien was ejected out the rear window of a silver Toyota Avensis car which spun and crashed into a ditch after Mr O’Connor lost control while driving at speed between Croom and Adare at around 1pm.
The rear-seat passenger, who was asleep and not wearing a seat-belt, ended up in the middle of the road following the accident which happened near the Woodlands House Hotel.
Sergeant Tony Miniter told Limerick Circuit Court Mr O’Brien spent four days at University Hospital Limerick afterwards as he sustained a fractured skull, multiple broken ribs and a broken nose.
The defendant, he said, was travelling with three others (including Mr O’Brien) having been drinking the previous night and again on the morning of the accident.
He said a number of witnesses described seeing the Toyota Avensis travelling at excessive speed in the minutes before the accident.
One women told gardai the car had “clipped the ditch” while overtaking while another witness described seeing the Avensis crossing the white line as it was being driven erratically.
When gardai arrived at the scene, they found Mr O’Brien on the road around four feet from the car which was embedded in a ditch on the opposite side of the road to which it was travelling.
“It was completely in the ditch, there was extensive damage to the back of the car,” he said.
While witnesses stated the other occupants of the car had remained at the scene for a short time after the crash, they had run off before the arrival of gardai.
Sgt Miniter told Lily Buckey BL, prosecuting, that Mr O’Connor was still “banged up” when he presented himself at Croom garda station the following day.
He said he made “full and frank” admissions telling gardai he was driving the Toyota Avensis when it crashed and did not have insurance.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the defendant had bought the car around a week earlier and that he admitted he had been drinking the night before and had two pints on the morning of the crash.
He told gardai he initially thought Mr O’Brien was dead but when he squeezed his hand he knew he was alive and fled the scene on foot.
Sgt Miniter said Mr O’Connor – a father of three young children – was stopped while driving without insurance in November 2018 and again in May 2018 while on bail in relation to the matter before the court.
Eimear Carey BL said her client accepts he has a “dreadful record” when it comes to road traffic offences and that things could have been “an awful lot worse”.
She said he left the scene of the crash in a moment of panic and that he knows he is facing a lengthy driving ban.
”He realises he needs to get his house in order,” she said adding that he had considerably reduced his consumption of alcohol.
Mr O’Connor, who was disqualified from driving for four years in January, will be sentenced in February.