Careless driving case left to civil remedy

Careless driving case left to civil remedy

Carrick-on-Shannon District Courthouse

“This is an unfortunate incident that occurs all too often. If he thought he wasn’t at fault he should have dealt with it in an upfront way,” said Judge Kevin P Kilrane upon striking out a case of careless driving against Hubert Reynolds and leaving the matter to civil remedy.

Giving evidence against Mr Reynolds, Satrissaun, Mohill, James Daniel said he was driving home on the date in question on the Ballinamore - Mohill road, driving in the direction of Mohill on September 28, 2017.

Mr Daniel recalled it was getting dark as he drove when suddenly he noticed a truck across the middle of the road with no lights.

“I hadn’t time to put on the brakes,” before “an accident occurred,” said Mr Daniel who added that no one was hurt.
With Mr Daniel saying that the truck was across both lanes of the road, Judge Kilrane asked to see a sketch map but was informed none was taken.

Explaining the reason for a lack of a sketch map, Gda Seamus Mimnagh stated, “The Guards were not called until the following evening so there is no accident sketch map.”

Mr Daniel recalled after the incident he spoke to Mr Reynolds and they tried to clear the road of debris.

Recalling his conversation with Mr Reynolds, Mr Daniel said, “He reasoned with me that he had no insurance on the truck and not to call the police.

“He said that night he would sort me out for the value of the car.”

The following day Mr Daniel contacted Mr Reynolds and was told he would not be paying for the damage.

“The next day he said he was paying nothing and he was liable for nothing.”

Under cross-examination from defence solicitor Colm Conway, Mr Daniel was asked, “Why did you feel the need three weeks later to provide an additional statement” to Gardaí.

In reply Mr Daniel said, “I didn’t feel the need. The Guards requested me.”

When asked, “How heavily did you hit the brakes?” Mr Daniel replied, “Instinctively I hit the brakes trying to stop the vehicle to avoid a collision.”

Mr Conway put it to Mr Daniel that it was he who was on the wrong side of the road which was refuted.

“The cab was on my right. The rear of the lorry was on my left. I had nowhere to go.”

Mr Conway told the Court, “Our case is that the defendant was turning off the road, on the correct side of the road when Mr Daniel struck him.”

In reply Mr Daniel said, “Your client is a liar. Everything you are saying is wrong.”

Gda Seamus Mimnagh gave evidence that the day after the accident Mr Daniel attended Mohill Garda Station. Gda Mimnagh and Mr Daniel drove to the scene of the accident where he observed debris including the bumper from Mr Daniel’s car but was unable to locate Mr Reynold’s small truck. He also observed a scorch mark on the left hand side of the road but there were no marks on the right hand side of the road.

Gda Mimnagh said he made numerous attempts to contact the defendant without success.

When he did speak to the defendant, Mr Reynolds gave an undertaking to produce his documentation but failed to do so.
Gda Mimnagh was asked by Mr Conway if the scorch marks could have been caused by a tractor or another heavy vehicle trying to tow a vehicle out of a ditch?

In reply Gda Mimnagh said, “It could have been caused by anything. I’m just saying what I saw.”

Giving evidence to the Court, the defendant, Mr Reynolds said he was moving the truck from his ex-wife’s residence.

Mr Reynolds explained, “I was pulling in to my yard, I expected the car to go behind me but he hit the back.”

Mr Reynolds said he was “well off the road with the front of the vehicle.”

Recalling events after the collision Mr Reynolds said he went straight to the other car.

He added, “We couldn’t move the lorry without getting a big tractor. We moved both vehicles off the road, into the yard.”

When asked why he didn’t pay the fixed charged penalty notice, Mr Reynolds replied, “I didn’t think I was in the wrong.”

Under cross-examination from Insp Dennis Harrington, Mr Reynolds insisted his vehicle was at all times on the correct side of the road.

He admitted he told Mr Daniel he had no insurance but denied telling him not to call the Gardaí.

Having heard the evidence Judge Kilrane remarked, “Mr Reynolds was exiting from the dwelling house and effectively making a u-turn. I am satisfied he travelled across the road to the incorrect side.

“Mr Reynolds says he had lights on, Mr Daniel said he did not see the lights. Both may be correct as the lights would have been facing towards the yard.

“It would be amazing if someone tried to complete this manoeuvre without lights.”

Concluding matters Judge Kilrane said, “I am prepared to leave matters to civil remedy. I accept everything Mr Daniel said. He rounded a corner, saw a lorry broadside on the road. There are no brake marks of any significance.”

Judge Kilrane added, “Mr Daniel was very reasonable at the scene. This is an unfortunate occurrence that occurs all too often. If he (Mr Reynolds) thought he wasn’t at fault, he should have dealt with it in an upfront way.”

Judge Kilrane struck out the charge of careless driving and imposed a fine of €400 in relation to having no insurance. No disqualification was imposed after Mr Conway highlighted that Mr Reynolds works as a tarmacadam contractor and needs his licence for work.

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