Wednesday 26 October 2016

Man found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving of neighbour he tried to save after crash

Greg Harkin

Published 11/02/2016 | 17:51

Adrian McCool
Adrian McCool

A council roads engineer has been found not guilty of causing the death by dangerous driving of a neighbour he tried to save after a crash.

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Adrian McCool (39) from Armiran, Stranorlar, Co Donegal, had denied a charge relating to an incident on November 13, 2013 on a rural road just outside Ballybofey.

Farmer and builder John O’Donnell (53) died when his VW Caddy van swerved to avoid Mr McCool’s sheep trailer which had broken down at the side of the road in the townland of Cappry.

Mr McCool had pleaded guilty to dangerous parking, failing to have working lights on the trailer and having a defective lamp on the jeep towing the trailer.

After a three-day trial at Letterkenny Circuit Court a jury of five women and six men took less than 50 minutes to find, Mr McCool, who works as a roads engineer with Donegal County Council, not guilty.

Judge John O’Hagan said he would sentence Mr McCool on the other charges in April.

During the trial Mr O’Donnell’s nephew, now 18, had wept as he told how his uncle had to take evasive action to avoid the trailer and collided with a vehicle coming in the other direction. He died at the scene.

Mr McGlynn, who was 16 at the time, wept as he recalled the night of the incident.

He said it had been dark – around 7.35pm – and he and his uncle John were in a VW Caddy and John was driving towards the Border to feed cattle there.

“I saw a jeep coming in the other direction. We didn’t see the trailer until the last minute,” he said.

“I remember the wing mirror coming off and there was a bang.”

The teenager said the last action of his uncle was to put his arm out to protect him.

The trial heard Mr McCool had run over to the scene of the crash and later gave CPR to Mr O'Donnell.

The driver of the oncoming jeep, farmer Terry Temple, said the Caddy had careered into his driver’s door.

He said he had tried to avoid Mr O’Donnell’s van but couldn’t.

Mr Temple said Mr O’Donnell and Mr McCool were friends who were known to each other and would have worked with each other in the past.

He told defence barrister Damian Crawford that Mr McCool had gone to help Mr O’Donnell, performing CPR until the ambulance came.

Judge John O'Hagan said Mr McCool would be sentenced for the other offences in April.

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