AN 80-year-old woman, who failed to keep a proper lookout while making a U-turn in Killeagh, caused the death of a 72-year-old motorcyclist. Yesterday, she was given a one-year suspended jail sentence.
Ann Lee, of Drominane, Killeagh, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on July 20, 2019, at Lissacrue, Killeagh, causing the death of Thomas Foley, aged 72, late of Douglas, Cork.
Sergeant Gerard O’Shaughnessy testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that Lee drove her Nissan Micra out in front of Mr Foley’s motorcycle, leaving him with no opportunity to stop. He suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lee and her husband, who was the front-seat passenger in the Micra, suffered non-life-threatening injuries at the time of the incident at around 6pm on a dry sunny day.
Mr Foley’s family felt distressed that the defendant did not commiserate or apologise to them. Donal McCarthy, defence barrister, said this was not Lee’s fault and that she sought advice from the priest at the time of the funeral and he advised her it would be best to “leave it alone for the moment”.
Her solicitor also advised her not to approach the Foley family.
However, Mr McCarthy said the defendant wanted to express her remorse and apologies to them now and he said she would live with the colossal error of judgment for the rest of her life. He said she had not driven since the incident.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said it was not a case for a custodial sentence and he imposed a one-year suspended sentence and a five year driving disqualification.
“This is undoubtedly an extremely sad case. This unfortunate man did nothing wrong. He was doing everything right going out on this motorcycle rally event as part of his lifelong interest. He was obeying the rules of the road when a car pulled across him and he had no opportunity to avoid the collision.
“This happened because the driver of the car attempted what appears to have been a U-turn on the road and she came across without keeping a proper lookout.
“It cannot be overestimated how fundamental keeping a proper lookout is.”
The judge said he understood the advice given to the defendant was not to approach the Foley family but he concluded that her apology to them now was heartfelt.