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Sunday 31 August 2014

Taxi driver drowns in river after check for no insurance

Caroline Crawford

Published 07/02/2014 | 07:47

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A taxi driver drowned when he jumped into a river, after he was stopped by gardai driving a car with no insurance.

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David Johnson (43), who was originally from Scotland, had been living in a Galway city hostel since before Christmas. He was working as a taxi driver in the city.

He died after jumping into the swollen river Corrib in Galway on Wednesday night. Earlier, he was stopped as part of a routine garda check for tax and insurance.

It is understood that the driver had no insurance on his black Vauxhall car, at the time.

If a car is found to be uninsured for more than three months it can be seized by gardai.

On being stopped, Mr Johnson left his vehicle and walked to the nearby Bridge Street, where he jumped into the water at 6.20pm.

Gardai immediately contacted emergency services and following a major search and rescue operation, his remains were taken from the river by the coast guard helicopter at 7.30pm. He was taken to Galway University Hospital were he was pronounced dead at 7.50pm.

His family in Scotland are being informed of his death.

The incident was referred to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) on Wednesday evening, by the Garda Commissioner.

A team of investigators arrived at the scene yesterday, which had been preserved pending their arrival. The car remained at the scene overnight, before being moved early yesterday.

GSOC members are now appealing for any witnesses to the incident to come forward.

Friends spoke of their shock at Mr Johnson’s sudden death, explaining that he had been dedicated to getting his taxi business up and running.

“He was a nice guy, he was just trying to get his stuff together in terms of the taxi,” said one man who knew him.

Mr Johnson had been travelling back and forward between Galway and Scotland for some time and returned again prior to Christmas.

“He was from Scotland and he came over just before Christmas, but he'd been here multiple times before,” they added. He just stayed here during the week and would be over and back.

“He was pretty quiet but he was no trouble. He just kept to himself and worked.”

hnews@herald.ie

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