A woman who could not recall if she hit another car while driving in Ballina was before Ballina District Court this week.
Una Casey told Ballina District Court that on November 28 2011 she was driving at the Ham Bridge, Ballina at the junction of the Ard Rí/Cathedral Road at 7.50pm when a SUV came from the right lane (which verges into the main flow of traffic ) and hit the front right wing mirror of her car.
Ms Casey said that she stopped her car immediately and hooted at the blue SUV, however it continued on. She said that she followed the vehicle and at the Post Office she caught up the Nissan Qashqai and memorised the number plate.
Garda Michael McGrath said that a report was made by Ms Casey at 8.16pm. The car was registered to Maureen McDermott, 25 The Moorings, Quay Road, Ballina. Contact was made by the garda to the home address; the ex-partner of McDermott took the call who in turn contacted McDermott.
The defendant was on a way to a wake in Bangor Erris when she was informed by her ex-partner that the gardaí wanted to speak to her in relation to an accident. McDermott told the court that she was in disbelief as “I don’t recollect hitting anyone” and said that if she knew that she did she would have stopped. She said that she examined her car and could see no damage.
The defendant attended the garda station the following day with her vehicle. The garda said that there was scratches on the front left side of the defendant’s SUV, however McDermott said that those scratches were there a while. Paint samples were taken from both vehicles and sent for forensic analysis. The result of which said that there was moderate to strong support that the SUV was involved in the incident.
McDermott said that there were three other similar SUVs in Ballina at the time. “All I know is that his lady identified my car and rang the gardaí—I don’t blame her for doing that.”
The accident was reported to the insurance company.
Judge Mary Devins dismissed the dangerous driving charge and said that it is “very notable that this particular junction is exceptionally dangerous.” For failing to stop after the accident the judge also dismissed the charge as McDermott had no intention not to stop as she was consistent in her evidence that she did not know that an accident had occurred.