Monday 26 September 2016

Man seriously injured when hit by a truck while pushing his out-of-fuel car on motorway hard shoulder, court hears

Tim Healy

Published 24/02/2016 | 16:25

Richard Roche-Garland, of Stackallen, Co. Meath pictured arriving at the Four Courts. Photo: Courts Collins
Richard Roche-Garland, of Stackallen, Co. Meath pictured arriving at the Four Courts. Photo: Courts Collins

A MAN was seriously injured when he was hit by a truck while pushing his out-of-fuel car on a motorway hard shoulder, the High Court heard.

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Richard Roche-Garland (42), French Lane, Stackallen, Co Meath, was pushing the car with the assistance of a Good Samaritan motorist towards a safer spot when he was struck, it is claimed.

Mr Roche-Garland, who was a self-employed seaweed spa bath products supplier, is suing the truck owners, Furniture Link International, of Dundalk, Co Louth, and its driver Larry Hoey.

The defendants deny the claims and say he stepped into the articulated lorry's path as he attempted to open the door of the car at the driver's side on the hard shoulder.

They say he did something inherently risky and did not comply with the highway code of getting out of the car and staying on the motorway embankment while he phoned for and awaited assistance.

The accident happened just after lunchtime on May 4, 2012, on the M6 near Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath.

Mr Roche-Garland said he remembered very little about the accident except he was pushing the car, which he had borrowed from his mother, while holding the steering wheel through an open window.

He decided to push it towards a lay-by a short distance away and the next thing he remembered was waking up in hospital.

He spent six weeks in hospital having suffered severe injuries including to both his legs, his shoulder and head.

He returned to work selling his product at fairs and events around Ireland with the help of his wife but had to eventually give it up because of his injuries.

Under cross-examination, he agreed he was not insured on the car at the time but thought he was.  He disagreed he was under financial pressure because he had run out of diesel and did not have insurance.

He disagreed with the lorry driver's claim that he was about to open the car door and had stepped out into the truck's path when he was hit even though the lorry tried to veer right to avoid him.

He accepted what he had done did not comply with the rules of the road but said he was trying to get the car and himself off the hard shoulder.

David Richardson, who was passing by and decided to assist Mr Roche-Garland when he saw him pushing his car, said he felt "a swoosh" of the lorry passing by and he realised the man he had been helping had been hit.

The case continues.

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