20 years off the road after explosive car crash caused 'catastrophic brain injuries'

20 years off the road after explosive car crash caused 'catastrophic brain injuries'
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

An explosive car crash caused a woman catastrophic head injuries on the Mallow Road and today the sentencing judge said it was his view the man responsible should never drive on a public road again.

The judge at Cork Circuit Criminal Court described the driving as scandalously dangerous.

40-year-old Martin Feehan of Killaltangh via Banagher, Count Galway was convicted by a jury last November on a charge that at Glencaum, Grenagh, Cork, on February 16 2015 his dangerous driving caused serious bodily harm to Bríd Hallihan.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said society would not be served by jailing the defendant but would benefit from him being put off the road for a substantial period.

The judge imposed a sentence of three years which he suspended. 

He also disqualified him from driving for 20 years.

Defence senior counsel Siobhán Lankford suggested after the lengthy ban was imposed that it would be backdated to February 2015 to take into consideration the fact that the accused had not driven since the accident.

Judge Ó Donnabháin refused that application and said the 20-year ban would commence from today. 

He added, “In my view he should never drive on a public road again.” 

Garda Maria Gibbons said the injured party sustained catastrophic brain injuries and still required fulltime care.

The defendant was on the overtaking lane on a two-lane stretch that was clearly signposted at various stages as ending after 500 and 200 metres and he failed to get in behind a heavy goods vehicle in the inside lane. The defendant’s car went on to the wrong side of the road where there was a head-on collision with another car.

The judge said that pleading not guilty to the charge was a fantasy and that the jury were 100 percent correct in reaching a guilty verdict.

Judge Ó Donnabháin recalled one witness described the collision as being “like a bomb exploding.” 

The judge said, “His driving was truly scandalous, genuinely dangerous, to continue driving in an overtaking lane and make no effort to get in on the driving lane was 100 percent correctly ascribed by the jury as dangerous driving.” 

The judge said there was no scheme in the defendant’s evidence where he came across as naïve to the extent that the judge wondered about his capacity to drive safely.

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