White Bridge boat crash drive awaits trial date for endangering life

The driver of the speedboat that crashed into the White Bridge in July where a passenger was seriously injured, was remanded on continuing bail in the District Court this week (February 27 ) to re-appear on April 24 for a book of evidence.

Richard Coffey (20 ) with an address at Merrion Park, South Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, who was making a first appearance on the charge, was told that the Director of Public Prosecutions “has indicated a prosecution on indictment”.

This means the DPP believes the charge to be serious enough to warrant it being tried in a Circuit Court before a jury.

Coffey was charged under Section 13 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997 for “intentionally or recklessly endangering the life of another”.

“Your client is well suited and booted,” said Judge Seamus Hughes to defending solicitor, Mr Owen Carty, as Coffey stood to hear the evidence against him.

Inspector Aidan Minnock told how a motorboat had collided with one of the support pylons of the railway bridge across the Shannon at around 10.30 on the night of July 14, only moments after leaving the Town Marina.

He explained how one passenger, a female, was “seriously injured”, and is believed to have spent a week in hospital with a broken leg.

“They were lucky we have the Garda Water Unit based here in Athlone,” said the inspector.

“They have a slip and can respond very quickly?” asked the judge.

“Yes, judge,” said Inspector Minnock.

The crash was also memorable as it resulted in the second ever call-out for the new RNLI lifeboat stationed in Coosan on July 1.

Inspector Minnock reassured the court the injured party was making a recovery, and that the book of evidence would take another four to six weeks to complete.

Judge Hughes remanded Coffey on continuing bail until the last court in April, and granted him legal aid as Coffey is unemployed.

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