26 May 2022

Careless driving case involving road sweeper struck out at Manorhamilton District Court

Careless driving case involving road sweeper struck out  at Manorhamilton District Court

Cases at Manorhamilton District Court were heard in The Glens Centre

A case of careless driving was struck out at last week’s sitting of Manorhamilton District Court with Judge Kevin P Kilrane ruling that he found the defendant, Patrick McGuinness, to be “100% at fault for the accident.”

The Court heard from Paul O’Neill that he was travelling home to Enniskillen on the N16, downhill towards the junction with Kiltyclogher at Foxfield, Manorhamilton on the morning of May 22, 2017 when he noticed a lorry coming along the Kiltyclogher road.

“I was half way past the junction and beeped my horn because I saw him coming. He carried on a bit and hit the back of me.”
Continuing his evidence Mr O’Neill said his car began to fishtail and he ended up on the other side of the road.

Mr O’Neill recalled he was unconscious for “a couple of seconds, maybe a minute,” and phoned the Gardaí when he came round.

The defendant, Patrick McGuinness, Skreeny, Manorhamilton was said to have approached Mr O’Neill’s vehicle and asked the injured party if he was ok.

Continuing his evidence Mr O’Neill said he wasn’t and that the Gardaí were coming. Mr O’Neill added, “He laughed and said ‘I nearly missed you’.”

Mr O’Neill recalled the accident occurred between 8.30am and 8.45am and noted conditions were dry. He said his speed at the time of the accident was 40-45kph.

The injured party said he did not require medical attention at the scene but his brother collected him and brought him to Sligo University Hospital.

The Court heard the lorry in question was a left-hand drive road sweeper with Mr O’Neill adding, “He mustn't have looked or anything. He just came out and hit me. The car was a write-off.”

Under cross-examination Mr O’Neill said, “I tried to avoid it going into a spin.

“I tried to keep it under control. A doctor told me it is like getting hit by a tank, it was full of water.”

When asked if he tried to brake in an attempt to avoid a collision with the lorry, Mr O’Neill replied, “I was halfway past him. How was I to try and brake.”

Giving evidence, the defendant, Mr McGuinness said he has been driving for his employer for roughly 12 years and has never had any issues in relation to driving a road sweeper. Mr McGuinness recalled, “I was driving up to the junction. I looked left and right and started to negotiate the bend.”

The defendant said he checked both sides before a car, “Flew across me.”

Mr Flanagan said he got out of his vehicle and went to check on the wellbeing of Mr O’Neill and denied he laughed at the defendant saying, “Why would I laugh at him.”

When asked if he would consider himself a safe driver, Mr McGuinness replied, “Definitely.”

Under cross-examination from Insp Denis Harrington the defendant was asked if his view may have been obstructed by a blind spot to which he replied, “To a certain extent it might block the view.”

Having heard the evidence Judge Kilrane ruled the defendant was “100% at fault for the accident.”

He paid tribute to Mr O’Neill’s driving saying he “Made great work to control his vehicle. He is obviously a very good driver.

“He steered his car properly and correctly to the other side of the road. Thankfully there were no other vehicles approaching.”

Having observed sketch maps of the incident and photos of the vehicles, Judge Kilrane formed the opinion that the fact that it was a left hand drive vehicle and had a pillar between the side window and the windscreen coupled with a significant mirror attached to the pillar would combine to restrict the view of the driver.

Judge Kilrane added, “There is no other explanation, there is no suggestion he was coming at speed. He simply did not see the car coming.

“The obstacles I outlined are his (defendant’s) to deal with.”

Judge Kilrane concluded matters by saying, “I am going to leave to civil remedy based on what I have said. Mr O’Neill was 100% in the right and he must be congratulated for his driving.”

The charge of careless driving was struck out.

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