A driver’s “gross error of judgement” has left a young member of the Garda Traffic Corp with injuries which he may never fully recover from, the Galway District Court heard this week.
Garda Conor Ledwith was left with multiple injuries after a jeep collided with his marked motorbike after overtaking a 50ft long articulated lorry. The jeep, driven by Krystian Rozycki and containing his wife and two children, hit the motorbike with such force that Garda Ledwith landed nine metres from the point of impact.
Rozycki (47 ) with an address at 12 An Liac Lian, Barna, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy last Monday charged with dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm at Addergoole, Currandulla, Galway on May 5, 2008.
Garda Phillip Staunton gave evidence that at 10pm Garda Ledwith had been driving a marked motorcycle when the 4x4 jeep, coming in the opposite direction, started to overtake the lorry. Realising the potential danger Garda Ledwith “flashed” his headlights a number of times but the jeep carried on regardless. Garda Staunton said that the lorry driver, seeing the jeep’s manoeuvre in his mirrors, decided to maintain the speed limit of 80kmph so that the motorcyclist “would not end up underneath the wheels”. Reducing his speed, Garda Ledwith then attempted to position his motorcycle to the extreme left hand side of the road as he hoped there may have been enough room “to squeeze in” between the jeep and the ditch. Unfortunately, the jeep had also turned into the ditch and Garda Ledwith “made contact with the front quarter panel” of the jeep and landed nine metres behind the point of impact.
Regarding injuries, Inspector Pat McHugh said Garda Ledwith sustained two broken wrists, nerve damage to the left wrist, and three hairline fractures to the skull and pelvis. He added that after having numerous surgical procedures, with at least three more due this year, Garda Ledwith may have these injuries for life.
Defence solicitor Jarlath McInerney said that his client had been “upset and traumatised” after the incident as were his wife and children who had been in the vehicle at the time. He said that the defendant, who has a full Polish driving licence, has been involved in no accident since he arrived in the country five years ago and had never come to the notice of gardai. He added that they had been coming back after a family day out.
“That compounds the situation,” replied Judge Fahy, who added that “no prudent driver” would have made such a dangerous manoeuvre at night.
“It was a gross error of judgement and as a result a very esteemed member of An Garda Siochana has been left with very serious injuries which he may never fully recover from,” she said.
Judge Fahy convicted and fined the defendant €1,000 with four months to pay and disqualified him from driving for three years. Recognisance was fixed at €600, one half to be lodged.