Cars are ‘not toys’, say heartbroken parents of 17-year-old killed in Limerick crash

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

The scene of the fatal high speed road crash which happened at Tubberyquinn, Ballyneety Picture: Press 22

The scene of the fatal high speed road crash which happened at Tubberyquinn, Ballyneety Picture: Press 22

THE heartbroken parents of a teenage boy who was killed in a Limerick road crash last year have appealed to young men to slow down, saying “cars are not toys”.

Gearoid Sheehy, 17, who was a rear-seat passenger, died instantly in the single vehicle collision which happened at Tubberyquinn, Ballyneety shortly after midnight on March 20, 2018.

A friend of Mr Sheehy – Anthony Curtin, 19, of Crecora Avenue, Ballincurra Weston – has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing his death.

Sergeant Cathal O’Neill told Limerick Circuit Court the Mazda car which had been bought for €350 earlier in the day was being driven at high speed when the defendant lost control and crashed into a field at a T-junction.

Another passenger sustained serious injuries in the crash while a third was not seriously injured.

Mr Curtin, who has more than 60 previous convictions for road traffic offences, was not insured and did not have a driver’s licence.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told gardai were pursuing the Mazda at the time as it had failed to stop for them around half an hour earlier.

Sgt O’Neill told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, the car became airborne after Mr Curtin lost control and hit a ditch such was his speed. The vehicle landed on its roof and the body of Mr Sheehy was found outside of the car when gardai arrived a short time later.

“It was being driven at grossly excessive speed,” he said, adding the defendant told gardai during interview that he remembered seeing the speedometer reaching 220 km/h a short time before he lost control.

In a victim impact statement, Gearoid Sheehy’s parents appealed to young men to slow down when driving.

“Although unintentional, the actions of this night have led to serious consequences for all involved. We have suffered the biggest consequence of all,” they wrote. “Our precious son Gearoid left his home that night not knowing he would never return and we lost our precious son. Cars are not toys and the sooner people start to realise this the sooner accidents like this can be prevented,” they added.

Andrew Sexton SC said what happened was a “tragedy for all concerned” and he asked the court to note his client made full admissions and pleaded guilty.

“There was no real malice, he is a young person who was messing around with what was effectively a weapon,” he said adding that Mr Curtin will have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life. Judge Tom O’Donnell adjourned the matter to next month.