Bird led to two-car collision, court hears

Concern for a bird which had hit the windscreen led to a driver performing a u-turn on the busy N17 road and colliding with another vehicle which hit a wall and overturned, the Galway District Court heard.

Dhana Riobbons (42 ) with an address at Carrowruane, Claregalway, pleaded guilty last Monday to dangerous driving at Peak, Claregalway, on December 3, 2008. However, the charge was later changed to the lesser offence of driving without due care and attention.

Inspector Pat McHugh told the court that gardai had been called to the scene of a two vehicle traffic accident on the N17. He said that the defendant had been driving towards Galway when she suddenly pulled in and performed a U-turn, narrowly missing another vehicle. However her car did hit a second vehicle which was sent hurtling into a wall and overturned. The car was extremely damaged but the two occupants received minor injuries. The inspector explained that Riobbons told gardai a bird had hit the windscreen and that she had been concerned about it and wanted to go back.

“It was a gross error of judgement,” said defence solicitor Olivia Traynor, who explained that her client has been driving for a long time with no incidents. Ms Traynor said that the defendant’s brother had died shortly before the accident and that this had affected her. She said that the defendant, who has no previous convictions, lives in the country and needs her car as she has two young children.

“She wasn’t in her right mind,” said Ms Traynor, who then asked Judge Fahy to consider postponing a disqualification.

“I’m very reluctant to disqualify her because of all the circumstances. However, dangerous driving has a mandatory disqualfication,” said Judge Mary Fahy.

Inspector McHugh then said that the lesser charge of driving without due care and attention would be accepted. He added that the defendant has been very forthright with the gardai.

Judge Fahy then accepted the lesser charge and fined the defendant €500 with four months to pay.

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