Thursday 17 August 2017

'A devastating momentary lapse' - Family of young mother killed in freak Luas accident awarded €548,000

'A momentary lapse in concentration by the motorist in this case proved to be devastating'

Yao Webster
Yao Webster

Aodhan O'Faolain

The family of a woman who was killed in a freak Luas accident have secured €548,000, plus costs, under a settlement of their High Court action.

Yao Webster (35) was on her way to work in Usher’s Island post office, and may have stopped to tie her lace, when the crash happened at the junction of Abbey Street and Jervis Street around 8.45am on April 7th 2014.

A Luas tram, which was travelling on the Red Line towards Tallaght, collided with a silver BMW car coming from the direction of the quays towards Parnell Street.

After being hit by the tram, the car spun out of control and into Ms Webster who was on the footpath outside the Leprechaun Museum.

The car had broken a red light, Hugh O’Keeffe SC, for Robin Webster, husband of the deceased, told the court today when asking it to approve a settlement of the proceedings.

It seemed death was instantaneous but, after being advised about the extent of  Ms Webster’s injuries, her husband and parents had decided against seeing her body, counsel outlined.

Yao Webster was killed following a fatal accident at the corner of Jervis Street.
Yao Webster was killed following a fatal accident at the corner of Jervis Street.

Mr Webster (44), a software developer of Eden Grove, Donabate, Co Dublin, had sued Quentin Hannezo, of Ha’penny Bridge House, Lower Ormond Quay, driver of the BMW, and Transdev Dublin Light rail Ltd, trading as Luas, over the accident.

The settlement is against the defendants but it includes an indemnity in favour of Transdev.

The bulk of the €548,000 goes to Mr Webster and his daughter while his wife’s parents, who live in China, will get €20,000. The deceased was their only child.

Outlining the case, Mr O’Keeffe said Mr Webster met his wife met her when she came here to study English and they married in August 2003. Both worked and Ms Webster had various jobs. At the time of the accident, she was a post office assistant in Usher’s Quay.

Yao Webster
Yao Webster

Mr Webster suffered a severe grief reaction but did his best to maintain his daughter’s routine after the accident, counsel said. Her parents remain in contact with their grandchild and Mr Webster hoped she would learn Mandarin and Chinese customs.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement as a very good one for this “tragic and difficult” case.

After the settlement, Mr Webster's solicitor Dermot McNamara said the case highlighted the potential danger for motorists approaching Luas crossings.

He said a momentary lapse in concentration by the motorist in this case proved to be "devastating" for the Webster family.

"A momentary lapse in concentration by the motorist in this case proved to be devastating for the Webster family and led to Yao being taken from her adored daughter Chloe (who only turned five yesterday), her loving husband Robin and her parents in China who lost their only child,” said Mr McNamara.

"An unfortunate set of circumstances led to the instant ending of the life of a devoted mother, wife and daughter as she walked along the footpath to her place of work. She is dearly missed by her family whose life will never be the same.

"This case should be a warning to all motorists to exercise caution when driving near Luas lines and not take chances when approaching traffic lights as the consequences of a collision with a Luas Tram could be catastrophic."

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