Driver avoids jail for motorcyclist’s death - tragedy described as "stupid waste of a young man's life"

Driver avoids jail for motorcyclist’s death - tragedy described as "stupid waste of a young man's life"
The scene of the fatal accident Picture: John Delea.

THE partner of a motorcyclist whose death was caused by dangerous driving at a junction near Rathcormac described it today as “a stupid waste of a young man’s life”.

Van driver Daniel Kelly, aged 54, of 3 Hillside, Rostellan, Midleton, was found guilty by a jury of dangerous driving on July 28, 2017, at Bridgelands East, Rathcormac, causing the death of Patrick O’Keefe.

He had already admitted the lesser charge of careless driving causing death.

He wrote a letter of apology to the family of the deceased, who agreed to meet with him privately after the sentencing hearing.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a six-month suspended sentence on the defendant and disqualified him from driving for four years.

The late Mr O’Keefe’s partner, Tina Carey, said in her victim impact statement: “He has been cheated from the life he had built, the family he loved, and all because someone couldn’t concentrate while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

“A huge hole has been left behind for many to deal with. We are broken, devastated, and still bewildered at what has happened. Bottom line is Pa is gone, he can’t come back.

“Patrick was a man of 35 the day he was killed. He was my partner and we had been together for 16 and a half years. He was a dad, a son, a brother, and a friend to many. He loved his job as an electrician and loved a challenge, and in the last few years, he was the main drive behind the hillbilly mud run in Mitchelstown.

“Pa loved his family. He loved life and lived every day to the full. He never stopped and he had the heartiest laugh.

“Sometimes I still think I can hear him laughing. I am gone from planning our future to being a lone parent of three boys.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin said the defendant emerged from a by-road onto the old Dublin-Cork road at Barry’s Bridge outside Rathcormac. The judge described it as a difficult junction, all the more so as the defendant was turning right onto it.

The judge added that there were absolutely no aggravating factors such as speed or alcohol. He said the late Mr O’Keefe did everything correctly, being on his correct side and not speeding, and yet he was killed.

“It is a salutary lesson to everyone who sits behind the wheel — we are all casual and neglectful in our driving on occasions,” the judge said.

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