Friday 9 December 2016

'Little effort was made to catch hit-and-run driver'

Published 31/05/2015 | 02:30

PRETTY DISGUSTED: Hit-and-run victim Georgia Cusack is leaving the country next month
PRETTY DISGUSTED: Hit-and-run victim Georgia Cusack is leaving the country next month

The hit-and-run driver who could have killed my daughter, Georgia, in the centre of Dublin last year can be fairly well assured he is not the subject of an intensive garda manhunt.

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My daughter is emigrating and is "pretty disgusted" with the gardai's handling of the incident.

She isn't leaving the country because of this, but it has left a sour taste in her mouth.

Georgia was riding her bicycle and was waiting for the lights to turn green at Shaw Street onto Pearse Street last November, when a car she heard, with its engine revving, suddenly "screeched through" the red light and slammed into her bike.

She is tall and athletic and managed to jump clear just as the car went over her bike.

She was badly shaken by the incident, but thankfully, not physically injured.

"He saw me coming as he sped through the red lights. I could see how dangerous it was. I could hear the accelerator revving. He went right over the bike. He wrecked my bike and sped off. He could see what he was doing and he just kept driving away at crazy speed."

The incident was witnessed by several people.

A Dublin Bus driver kindly stopped his bus, gave Georgia his details, including his mobile phone number, and told her to tell the gardai the incident was captured on the CCTV camera on the bus.

Read more: 10,000 crimes a year not investigated as gardai 'work-to-rule'

A woman, who had been in a taxi behind the car, also kindly stopped and also gave my daughter her name and contact details.

So did another man, a pedestrian who also supplied his contact details and also offered to be a witness.

Two witnesses had taken down the registration, make, colour and model of the car.

Georiga went into Pearse Street Garda Station, helped by the man who witnessed the incident to carry her broken bike. She gave the names and contact details of the witnesses and the details of the car.

"I made a statement and the garda asked me if I wanted to press charges. He told me it would be a hassle and I might have to go to court. He said sometimes it was the driver's word against mine and it can become messy," she said.

Last December, I accompanied her to Pearse Street station after she had heard nothing further from the gardai. Georgia is a singer and musician and could ill-afford the loss of her bike.

She also felt concerned that the driver could be a danger to others and should be sanctioned in some way.

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Georgia was told that a request had been made to Dublin Bus for CCTV footage, but there was no further information on the PULSE computer system.

She contacted the witnesses in January - all three, including the bus driver, told her they had heard nothing from the gardai.

Shortly afterwards, I made a call to the station and was informed that the situation remained as was, but it would be "looked into".

A few days later, Georgia received a call on her mobile and was asked to come back into the station and make another statement, which she did.

During this visit, she was told that gardai had gone to the man's address, that the car was there but he "wasn't home".

And that, is apparently, that. She was told that the gardai still had no CCTV from the bus (Dublin Bus only keep CCTV images for a limited time, unless they are contacted and asked to preserve the images - which staff insist they are very diligent at).

Georgia has heard nothing further since January and leaves Ireland next month.

"He has got off Scott-free. I suppose I'm lucky I wasn't killed or injured."

Sunday Independent

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