Dundalk woman died in head-on smash

Circuit Court

Staff Reporter

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Dundalk woman died in head-on smash

A 33 year old local man charged in connection with a fatal head-on collision outside Drogheda, which claimed the life of a young Dundalk woman three years ago, has been jailed for three and a half years at Trim Circuit Court (pictured).

Michael Crilly with an address at St. Alphonsus Road, Dundalk pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Leoni Walsh and causing serious injury to two others at Plattin, Drogheda on January 8th 2015.

The sentencing hearing on Friday was told that the crash was witnessed by an off-duty garda sergeant, who was travelling behind an articulated truck on the Drogheda/Duleek Road and was approaching the Irish Cement factory around 6am, when he saw the lights of an oncoming car cross onto he incorrect side of the road and collide head on with the lorry. The front seat passenger in the Toyota Avensis, Leoni Walsh, was fatally injured and two other young women who were backseat passengers suffered multiple injuries including fractured limbs.

Michael Crilly had taken the car without its owner’s permission. He had no insurance and had a provisional driving licence.

The accused - who suffered non-life threatening injuries in the crash - told Gardai he had no recollection of what happened.

The court heard he had a number of previous convictions including drink driving and having drugs for sale or supply, but the defence barrister stressed that his client – who had been given a two year suspended sentence at Dundalk Circuit Court - was not the dealer and had been the patsy in that case.

He explained that the drugs offence happened at a time when his client was addicted to heroin. He added that the accused is a carer for his father, with whom he lives.

The court was told neither of the two women who survived the crash, nor Ms. Walsh’s family wished to attend the sentencing and no victim impact reports were submitted to the court.

Judge Michael O’Shea imposed a five year sentence with the last 18 months suspended, on the accused entering a bond to be of good behaviour for that period, on his release from prison. He also banned him from driving for 10 years.