Tuesday 20 August 2019

'Instead of choosing a wedding venue, I was being wheeled into a funeral home' - Woman who lost fiancé (24) in road accident breaks down in court

Harrowing scenes marked the sentencing of Bulgarian truck driver, Ivan Gochev (40), for careless driving causing the death of Brian Fahy (24) last year.
Harrowing scenes marked the sentencing of Bulgarian truck driver, Ivan Gochev (40), for careless driving causing the death of Brian Fahy (24) last year.

Ralph Riegel

A YOUNG woman who lost her fiancé in a head-on collision with a lorry said she was left heartbroken at having to pick out his coffin rather than a wedding venue.

Harrowing scenes marked the sentencing of Bulgarian truck driver, Ivan Gochev (40), for careless driving causing the death of Brian Fahy (24)
last year.

Gochev c/o Walton's Transport, Kilkenny pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to careless driving causing the death of Mr Fahy.

He received a six month suspended sentence as Judge Gerard O'Brien noted that the tragedy was caused by a momentary lapse in concentration with absolutely no aggravating factors such as excessive speed or alcohol involved.

The incident occurred at Lisnacunna, Enniskeane in west Cork on May 25 2016 contrary to Section 52 of the Road Traffic Act.

Judge Gerard O'Brien heard that the fatal collision occurred when the outer wheels of Gochev's lorry had inadvertently gone inches off the road surface and onto a grass margin.

However, high grass masked the fact that the margin was several inches lower than the road surface.

In trying to recover, Gochev accidentally over-corrected and his lorry veered across the road and straight into the path of a Nissan Micra car being driven by Mr Fahy's fiancée, Joanne Walsh.

The court heard that there was absolutely nothing she could do to avoid the collision with the lorry which was on her side of the road.

Mr Fahy, who was from South Douglas Road in Cork city, was a front seat passenger in the car.

The young man suffered multiple injuries in the collision and tragically died two days later despite desperate efforts by surgeons to save him.

The couple, who had been together for four years, were due to get married a short time later.

“I never imagined this for us," Ms Walsh said.

She suffered multiple injuries in the collision including a shattered hip.

"Instead of choosing a wedding venue, I was being wheeled into a funeral home to pick out a coffin (for Brian)."

"The loss of Brian has had so many impacts (on our lives). It has turned the usual happy times such as birthdays and Christmas into painful times. Life has little joy now," she said.

Mr Fahy's mother, Celeste, told the court that her son would have wanted her to forgive the truck driver and that was what she was now doing.

But she told the father of two she hoped he never had to experience the terrible grief the accident had inflicted on her family.

“Mr Gochev, I hope you will never have to experience the death of one of your children as the loss is insurmountable," she sobbed.

"By driving the way you did, on that fateful summer’s day, you killed my beautiful son."

She said her son was a warm, caring and kind-hearted person who was so looking forward to his wedding and life with Joanne.

“Brian would never want anyone to suffer and would always give someone the benefit of the doubt."

"I am sure my son has forgiven you and, so, I take my lead from him. I struggle to forgive you for what you have done and because of your
driving that day. I struggle to accept my beautiful boy is dead,” she wept.

“As Brian’s mother, whose job it was to give him life and keep him safe, I also struggle with the fact that I turned off his life support machine."

"I will never get over his death and I live every day with an ache in my heart in the knowledge my precious son will never be coming home.”

Judge O'Brien described it as a very tragic case and commended the family on their forgiveness of the defendant.

He noted Gochev's remorse as genuine and heartfelt as well as the circumstances of the tragedy.

Judge O'Brien imposed a six month suspended sentence.

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