Fine for US tourist who crashed into motorbike gardai
An American tourist has been fined €400 for crashing his car into two motorbike gardai yesterday.
One of the gardai is recovering in hospital with a broken leg after the accident, which took place when the tourist was on his way to the Fleadh Cheoil in Co Sligo.
The gardai, one in his late 30s and the other in his early 40s, were taken to Sligo General Hospital. One of the injured gardai was later released from the hospital.
Gardai said a 47-year-old motorist, Gary Wilson of Pearl River, New York, appeared at a special sitting of Castlerea District Court yesterday afternoon. He was originally charged with dangerous driving, but the court reduced it to careless driving. He pleaded guilty and was fined €400.
The driver, his wife, and two children, aged about 10 and 12, were unhurt in the collision on Clarion Road, Sligo.
The family, who live in New York, were in Sligo for the Fleadh Ceoil and on their way into the town, where one of the children was due to take part in a music contest.
One garda motorcycle was still embedded in the Renault Fluence 90 minutes after the crash. The other garda motorbike was thrown 50 metres away. The road was sealed off for several hours while gardai investigated the crash. An eye-witness said: "The gardai appeared to be so seriously injured that the ambulance crew attending them wouldn't let them move on the roadway.
"There was debris from the crash everywhere with smashed up bits of motorbike over a wide area.
"At first it looked really bad for the gardai because they were on the ground for a long time while ambulance crews worked with them. It's a miracle they weren't more seriously hurt in the accident."
A senior garda spokesman in Sligo said the men, two very experienced members of the traffic corps, were on their way out of Sligo in the direction of Manorhamilton when the car driver came out of a side road to head towards Sligo and went across the motorcyclists.
The road where the crash happened was re-opened last night.