A teenager who knocked down a woman out walking her dog in a hit and run – leaving her in a wheelchair for over seven months, was last week fined €100 at Dundalk Circuit court for careless driving causing serious bodily harm and was banned from driving for four years.
Judge Gerard O’Brien also made an order that the youth – who can’t be named because he was just 16 at the time, must furnish the victim with €9,525 in compensation.
He struck out a number of other offences that were admitted including driving without insurance or a driving licence at a location in County Louth on January 10th last year.
The court heard the victim was out walking her dog around 7pm, on the correct side of the road facing the direction of on-coming traffic. She was wearing a high-vis jacket and carrying a large torch.
She told gardaí the car approached very quickly and she used her torch to warn that she was there, before she stepped on to the bank with her dog.
The car went out of control and its’ lights came straight at her. She had nowhere to go and ended up lying on the ditch, unable to move her legs. Although she heard a young male’s voice asking if she was ok, there was no further contact.
The victim could hear her dog barking, and was getting colder, when she heard a car and used her torch to wave it down. The woman suffered serious leg, knee and shoulder injuries, and underwent a number of operations and spent seven and a half months in a wheelchair.
The accused - who presented himself at his local garda station the next evening, accompanied by his parents, told gardai he and a number of other youths had bought the Citroen Saxo for €500 and that evening he and a friend, had pushed it silently down the driveway of his home, while his father was away. He said en route to get petrol, he lost control on a bend.
He thought the brakes were faulty and he “tipped” the woman with the car as they were going around a corner.
He said he asked her if she was ok and apologised, before they walked across fields to a local town.
The accused went home, changed for bed and said a few prayers before going to sleep.
He said nothing all day, until he told his parents who took him to the garda station. The court heard the accused was offering a sum towards the cost of adapting the victim’s car for her to drive and had written a letter of apology to the woman saying not a day goes by that he hasn’t thought of her.
Judge Gerard O’Brien said the collision had life altering consequences for the victim, and the car being pushed onto the road indicated the accused understood what he was about to embark on was wrong.
However, he noted the Probation report was extremely positive, at no stage did the teen attempt to minimise his involvement and he had no previous convictions.