Driver avoids jail for fatal collision
Published 30/10/2013 | 05:28
THE 36-year-old mother of three who caused a fatal crash which claimed the life of newly married Termonfeckin woman Emily Maguire Kennedy when she drove through a crossroads was given a two-year suspended sentence and disqualified from driving for four years.
The 36-year-old mother of three who caused a fatal crash which claimed the life of newly married Termonfeckin woman Emily Maguire Kennedy when she drove through a crossroads was given a two-year suspended sentence and disqualified from driving for four years.
Elizabeth Lawel of Heron Street Aston Village, Drogheda, pleaded guilty at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dundalk to dangerous driving causing death at Beaulieu Cross on September 21 2011.
Emily was killed in the accident which happened the day before she was due to return to the United States with her husband Sean Kennedy. The couple had been married in a civil ceremony in February 2010 and had come to Ireland to have their wedding blessed in her native parish.
She was travelling as a back seat passenger in a Kia Sportage driven by her brother Paul which was travelling from their home in Termonfeckin to Drogheda when Lawel drove through the crossroads from a minor road without stopping. Her car struck the back quarter of the Maguires' vehicle, which was sent spinning across the road, collided with a van, and overturned, ending up on its roof.
Paul had slowed down on approaching the cross roads and saw the silver Nissan Almera coming out of the junction.
When the car came to a halt it was upside down facing back in the direction from which it had come. Paul was lying upside down from his seatbelt and he could hear his mother calling to himself and Emily. Mrs. Maguire managed to get out of the car and Emily was found in a hanging position from the seat belt in the back of the car. She had a pulse but died shortly after she was taken by ambulance to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
A motorist travelling the in the opposite direction to Lawel's car said she made no indication of slowing down or stopping.
The driver of a van which was heading towards Termonfeckin said he saw the Nissan vehicle come out of the road at speed. It stuck the Kia which spun round, became airborne and collided with his van.
The court heard that the speed limit was 80 km/h and that there are signs and road markings leading up to the junction.
Lawel, a home care worker, was unfamiliar with the road and was travelling along it due to a traffic diversion. She had told gardaí that she was travelling at 30 to 40kph and had stopped at the junction, looked left and right, and edged out but didn't see the on-coming car. She said a black jeep ran into her and she pulled into a gateway out of the way of the junction.
Defence barrister Damian Colgan said his client had since suffered genuine remorse and depression. She was a very religious woman and prayed for the deceased every day. She was married with three children and had come to Ireland from Nigeria in 2004 and had gained Irish citizenship in 2012.