Wednesday 13 December 2017

Driver haunted by crash that left victim paralysed

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A TAXI driver fought back tears as he told a court of the recurring nightmares he suffers since he was involved in a tragic road accident which left a young man severely disabled.

The parents of Mark O'Callaghan, who died 11 years after the collision, yesterday consoled the visibly upset driver following an inquest into the death. Mr O'Callaghan was aged 20 when he was struck on Ballybough Road, Dublin, by the Nissan Bluebird driven by Alan Kilduff. The accident left Mr O'Callaghan paralysed from the neck down and unable to communicate.

Mr Kilduff yesterday told the Dublin County Coroner's Court that he has worked as a taxi driver for 22 years. "This was the most horrific thing to ever happen to me," he said, offering his condolences to Mr O'Callaghan's parents. "I've had nightmares over it. If I could have stopped I would have." Speaking outside court, the victim's father, John O'Callaghan, said that "from day one" his family never blamed the driver.

"I can imagine what he went through," he said, adding that his Kerry-born son had been hoping to return to college before the crash.

The victim's mother, Kathleen O'Callaghan, also speaking outside court, praised the doctors and nurses who looked after Mr O'Callaghan for nine years at Peamount Hospital, Co Dublin, and during his short stay at Tallaght Hospital, Dublin. Mrs O'Callaghan said the hospitals had been a "second home" to the family and his care had been fantastic.

Earlier, Jason Bowden, who witnessed the crash, told the court how he saw a man appear to make a dash across the road -- possibly to escape the heavy rain -- without checking for oncoming traffic on the night of the accident on October 26, 1998. Mr Bowden added that the car had "no chance of avoiding him" and Mr O'Callaghan was thrown 15 feet into the air.


Mr Kilduff said he had just crossed the bridge and he was driving cautiously due to the heavy rain. He never saw Mr O'Callaghan until the moment the victim hit the bonnet of the car, he explained.

Dr Chin Lee, from Tallaght Hospital, told how Mr O'Callaghan died on November 17 2009 from multi-organ failure due to an infection linked to his disabilities. The jury passed a verdict of accidental death.

Irish Independent

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