Saturday 25 February 2017

Driver 'deeply sorry' over two deaths in road crash

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A MAN charged with dangerous driving causing two deaths told gardai he never thought his actions would bring so much pain and suffering to so many people.

Anthony Long (28) appeared before Midleton District Court in east Cork yesterday charged with dangerous driving causing the deaths of Brendan Donnelly (24) and Lee Salkeld (26) on October 26 last.

Mr Donnelly, from Beech Drive, Greenfields, Waterford, and Mr Salkeld, from Fairfield Park, Old Tramore Road, Waterford, were with their partners, and en route to catch a flight from Cork Airport for a city break in Amsterdam in the Netherlands when the tragedy occurred.

The break was aimed at celebrating the birth of Mr Salkeld's first child -- and Mr Donnelly's purchase of a new house just a few weeks beforehand.

The crash took place at Caherulton, Castlemartyr, on the main Waterford-Cork Road.

The partners of both men were seriously injured in the head-on collision but survived and have since made a good recovery.

The cars came together at 2.45am when the 2004 Ford Mondeo being driven by Mr Long collided with the Volkswagen Polo carrying the two deceased men and their partners.

Detective Garda Cormac Ryan yesterday told Judge Michael Pattwell that Mr Long, of Leadington, Leamlara, Cork, was arrested, cautioned and formally charged with the offence at Midleton Garda Station on Wednesday evening, June 2.

When charged, Mr Long had replied: "Never in my life did I think I could cause so much pain and suffering to so many people.

"I am truly and deeply sorry for what I have done. If there was anything I could do to change the past, I would gladly do so."

Mr Long -- who appeared in court wearing a suit, white shirt and tie -- remained silent during the brief hearing.

Guilty

He is charged with dangerous driving causing death contrary to Section 53 (1) of the Road Traffic Act (1994).

His solicitor, Ken Murray, told the court his client was willing to be returned to the next session of the Circuit Criminal Court on a signed plea of guilty.

Inspector Senan Ryan told the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions would agree to such a return.

Judge Pattwell was told that while the charge was extremely serious, Mr Long knew for some time that he was likely to face court proceedings.

He fully co-operated with gardai and was available to them at all times.

Judge Pattwell granted Mr Long bail and remanded him on bail to appear before the next sitting of Cork Circuit Criminal Court which begins on June 15. The court heard that Mr Long currently resides in Leamlara with his wife.

Mr Salkeld's family are originally from Britain and he was an only child.

Mr Donnelly was originally from Birr, Co Offaly, before moving to Waterford where he worked. He had only bought his first house in Waterford a few weeks before the fatal accident.

Irish Independent

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