FA­TAL CRASH TRIAL

The Sligo Champion - - FRONT PAGE - By SOR­CHA CROW­LEY

THE trial con­tin­ues to­day at Sligo Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court of a 43-year-old lorry driver charged with dan­ger­ous driv­ing caus­ing death and se­ri­ous in­jury to three Coun­cil work­ers at Castle­bald­win three years ago.

Vlas­timil Zachar, a Czech ci­ti­zen with an ad­dress at Con­nell Drive, New­bridge, Kil­dare, pleaded not guilty to the charge, which claimed the life of 62-year-old Padraig Noone and se­ri­ously in­jured Damien Davey and An­thony Fe­hily on 13th Au­gust 2015 at Bal­ly­healy town­land, Holly­brook, Castle­bald­win.

Ms Orla Crowe, SC, with Mr Pat Reynolds BL and in­structed by Ms Elisa McHugh, State So­lic­i­tor, opened the case for the Pros­e­cu­tion last Fri­day be­fore Judge Fran­cis Comer­ford and a jury of eight men and four women.

Ms Eileen O’Leary SC is de­fend­ing Zachar, in­structed by Mr Mor­gan Cole­man so­lic­i­tor and by Mr Pat O’Sul­li­van BL.

Ms Crowe told the jury that the fa­tal crash hap­pened around 11.20am that morn­ing, which was a fine dry day.

She said it will be al­leged that Zachar drove his arc­tic truck in a man­ner, in­clud­ing speed, that was dan­ger­ous to the pub­lic and which caused the death of Mr Noone and in­jured An­thony Fe­hily and Damien Davey.

She said the late Mr Noone ws a Gen­eral Op­er­a­tive for Sligo County Coun­cil, a 62-year-old mar­ried man with two grown up chil­dren who worked part time for the Coun­cil and was also a small farmer.

Se­nior coun­sel out­lined that there was work be­ing done by Sligo County Coun­cil on the grass verge that day - verge trim­ming, lit­ter pick­ing and drainage clear­ing.

She said that 6.2km be­fore the op­er­a­tion, there was a mes­sage sign warn­ing of verge trim­ing.

There was an­other sign 270m fur­ther on and a third sign 160m be­fore the scene and ar­rows point­ing to the hard shoul­der as one came upon the op­er­a­tion. Ms Crowe said the first ve­hi­cle at the op­er­a­tion was a Mit­subishi crew cab with a sign and warn­ing lights driven by Gerry Glynn.

The next ve­hi­cle was a cater­pil­lar JCB, driven by An­thony Fe­hily, clear­ing drains.

“Ahead of him, three abreast, were Thomas Col­leary, Damien Davey and Padraig Noone, clos­est to the em­bank­ment. They were pick­ing up lit­ter,” she told the jury. She told them they would hear ev­i­dence that Zachar veered off the road, into the hard shoul­der, col­lid­ing with the crew cab, forc­ing it up on to the em­bank­ment, caus­ing it to spin around.

“The truck then con­tin­ued and hit the JCB, shov­ing it up into the em­bank­ment. Padraig Noone was di­rectly in the path of the JCB and was par­tially trapped un­der­neath,” she said. Foren­sic col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tor Garda Ger­ard McAu­ley tes­ti­fied that he at­tended the scene the same day to as­sist Sgt PJ Gal­lagher, the lead foren­sic col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tor.

He said there were skid marks from the right front wheel of the arc­tic truck up to where they dis­ap­peared un­der the cab that were 28m long. An­other skid mark from the front left wheel of the Sca­nia truck was 23.2m long.

Re­tired Sgt Ciaran O’Brien of Sligo Crime Scenes Unit showed pho­tos he took of the crash scene to the jury. Many were taken us­ing a fire bridage hoist.

The trial con­tin­ues to­day be­fore Judge Comer­ford at Sligo Court­house. It is ex­pected to last two weeks at the least.

Above: The scene of the ftal ac­ci­dent in which a County Coun­cil worker died and (in­set), lorry driver Vlas­timil Zachar. Pic: Carl Bren­nan.

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