Mother of four expresses her remorse after tragic collision
A motorist who caused a fatal collision said she was distracted when a toffee she was chewing caused a dental filling to come loose.
Teresa Harrington told Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court there was nothing she could do to avoid the impact on the N5 at Carracanada, Swinford, Co Mayo, in which 64-year-old Brian Bacon died.
Mr Bacon, who lived with his partner Ellen Rosemary Lynch at Cloghvoley, Kilkelly, Co Mayo, died at the scene in March last year.
His car was rear-ended by Ms Harrington's vehicle, propelling it into the path of a lorry.
Ms Harrington of Trout-hill, Charlestown, Co Mayo, appeared before the court on a signed plea of guilty to careless driving causing death.
"A toffee became stuck in a back tooth and while picking it out a filling came out along with the toffee," the mother of four told Judge Rory MacCabe.
She said she was deeply sorry for the pain she had caused to Mr Bacon's relatives.
Victim impact statements were read to the court from Jenny Bacon, a daughter of the deceased, and Ms Lynch, his partner.
In her statement, Jenny Bacon described her father as "a good man" and said his death had left a void that cannot be filled.
Defence counsel Paul Flannery appealed for clemency.
He said the defendant's attention had been briefly diverted.
She had no previous convictions. A custodial sentence would do nothing for her, he argued.
Judge MacCabe said he had no hesitation in accepting that Ms Harrington was a person of good character and said the cause of the collision was "a momentary loss of concentration which had tragic results".
The judge said he was familiar with the stretch of road where the crash happened and described it as "notorious".
He said it may well be time that the Road Safety Authority considered speed limits.
The judge imposed a six-month suspended prison sentence and disqualified the defendant from driving for four years.
Judge MacCabe expressed his sympathy with the family of the deceased.