Undertaker (71) gets two years for causing crash that killed teen
Published 11/02/2010 | 05:00
AN ELDERLY undertaker has been jailed for two years for dangerous driving which caused the death of a 19-year-old trainee beautician.
Senan Waters (71), of Dublin Road, in Fermoy, Co Cork, appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death on the Glanmire by-pass on January 21, 2008.
Sian Roberts (19), of Kilbarry, Fermoy, suffered fatal injuries in the collision near the Caherlag bridge, not far from Dunkettle, on the N8 Cork-Dublin road shortly before 6.30pm.
The teenager was sitting in her car parked on the hard shoulder of the road when Waters ploughed into her vehicle from behind.
Gardai confirmed Ms Roberts had the hazard lights of her Ford Ka properly engaged at the time of the collision.
An investigation found alcohol and speed were not factors in the tragedy.
The defendant -- who is a widower -- later said to gardai he should have spotted Ms Roberts' car but tragically failed to do so.
The force of the impact drove Ms Roberts' Ford Ka into the safety barrier and then back out onto the carriageway where her car was struck by another oncoming vehicle -- and she sustained fatal injuries.
Gardai were initially informed by Waters that his Nissan Almera had itself been struck from behind.
But following a detailed examination of the accident scene, gardai were satisfied that Waters' failure to see the parked Ford Ka was the primary cause of the accident.
Ms Roberts' parents, Jeff and Michelle, speaking outside the court, said their daughter's death had been a nightmare.
"I just cannot even begin to (describe) the devastation this has caused for us, our children and our extended family," Mrs Roberts said.
"It is something we will struggle to live with for the rest of our lives. It has been awful."
Ms Roberts was only heading home at that time because she had been unable to secure a model for hair-styling work in the salon that evening.
"Sian said if she got a (hairdresser) model she would be late, but if she didn't get a model she would be coming straight home," Mrs Roberts added.
Ms Roberts' grandfather Sean said he felt the two-year prison term was appropriate for what had happened.
"I think he (Waters) does deserve two years for that -- for the loss of Sian and what he did," he said.
Waters, through his counsel, expressed his deep remorse to the Roberts family for their tragic loss.
The 71-year old works as a part-time undertaker and postal worker in his native north Cork and had no previous convictions.
As well as imposing a two-year prison term, Mr Justice Con Murphy also directed that Waters be disqualified from driving for 10 years.