08 Aug 2022

Judge in Donegal court strikes out careless driving case due to ‘no evidence of driving’

The defendant had admitted the charge against her

Donegal courthouse

Donegal Town courthouse

A woman who lost control of her car which ended up on its roof in a field has had a careless driving charge struck out, despite admitting the offence.

Danielle Kearney, 27, who lives in Donegal but whose address was listed as Mirah, Turloughmore, Galway, was before Donegal District Court on Wednesday last. 

She pleaded guilty to careless driving at Aughlim, Donegal Town on September 26, 2020.

Inspector David Durkin told the court that at 4.55am on the date in question, gardaí received a report that a vehicle had left the road and was on its roof in a field.

“Further enquiries established that the vehicle had been there for some time,” he said.

The driver was unsure where she was, and so had taken a photo and sent it to her mother, who in turn had forwarded it to gardaí.

“It took gardaí nearly an hour to find it,” said Inspector Durkin.

He added that while the defendant was not in court for drink driving, gardaí believed that Kearney had consumed intoxicating liquor. The inspector said that a blood sample was obtained in hospital but it was outside the three-hour time limit for a drink driving charge.

He said Kearney had admitted to gardaí that she had consumed three West Coast Coolers and some vodka after work. She also admitted to later losing control of a car after a house party.

However, Inspector Durkin added, there were no independent witnesses to the incident.

Solicitor Conor McLaughlin said his client was a hard-working young woman who was very remorseful and embarrassed. She was also acutely aware that she could have injured her boyfriend who was also in the car. 

Mr McLaughlin added: “She is grateful to the gardaí and the ambulance crew that brought her from Donegal Town to Sligo Hospital.

“She has a clean record and was fully cooperative with the gardaí.”

Judge Deirdre Gearty told the defendant: “You are a very lucky girl. You could  have killed two of you that night.”

The judge said she would strike out the matter based on the fact that there was no evidence other than the defendant’s admission.

“If it had been contested I think that  it would have been successful, so that is the fair order,” said Judge Gearty.

The defendant thanked the judge.

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