An Inchigeela farmer “who was very drunk behind the wheel of his car” was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for dangerous driving causing the death of an 80-year-old man in this part of West Cork.
Judge Helen Boyle imposed a sentence of four years and nine months with one year suspended on Dan Coakley of Derryleigh, Inchigeela, County Cork.
Mr Coakley pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on November 8 2020 at Carrigleigh, Inchigeelagh, causing the death of David Service. He also pleaded guilty to drink driving and knowingly or recklessly having a defective vehicle at the time of the incident. The concentration of alcohol was 99 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
The final charge was of driving a defective vehicle on November 8 2020. This charge specified an excessively worn nearside front track rod end and an excessively worn nearside front suspension upper ball joint which he knew, or could have discovered by the exercise of ordinary care, was such that it was a danger to the public.
While a victim impact report was presented by the deceased’s family it was not read in court and they requested privacy.
Judge Helen Boyle noted from the evidence that at the time of the collision, it was not expected that Mr Service would die but he died 18 days later in hospital.
Donal O’Sullivan, defence barrister, said the accused had no significant previous convictions, he accepted he was wrong and he remained at the scene.
Judge Boyle said, “He is 44 years old and has an alcohol problem. The main aggravating factor is that you were drunk when driving the car. The main reason this occurred was alcohol. The condition of the vehicle was a contributory factor.
“In terms of the plea, you have no previous convictions, you stayed at the scene and cooperated. You were very drunk behind the wheel of a car.
“You feel genuine remorse for events of that day. You made no attempt to leave the scene. You feel very deeply sorry for what you did.”
The judge noted that he was a farmer with a small bit of land and his life had been blighted by alcohol addiction. “He presents as a vulnerable person with mental health difficulties… I accept you are deeply remorseful for what you did on the day and for Mr Service’s death,” Judge Boyle said.