Man jailed over crash in which brother lost his legs
A 22-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for a year for causing a head-on collision in which his older brother lost one leg completely and the other one from just below the knee.
James Connolly, of Carnane, Kilcolgan, Co Galway, was three times over the legal blood/ alcohol limit when the car he was driving veered across the road and hit an oncoming car head-on.
His brother, Keith Connolly (26), a father of one, was a back-seat passenger in the car at the time of the accident at Cartron, Kilcolgan, on October 16, 2011.
The brothers had been drinking all afternoon in their local pub with teammates following a hurling match that day.
James Connolly pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in May to driving dangerously in a manner which caused serious bodily harm to his brother and to driving while under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Garda Philip Donoghue gave evidence at the sentencing hearing yesterday that both brothers suffered serious injuries in the impact and had to be cut from the car.
The accused man's pelvis was broken while his brother lost one leg completely and the other from below the knee.
Gda Donoghue said the accused was leaving his older brother – whose partner had just had a baby – home when the accident occurred.
The accused broke down and cried in the witness box and his barrister, John Hogan, read a letter for him in which he said he wished it was he who had lost his legs. "Keith is my idol and one of the people I look up to. It's not fair it had to happen to such a good man and a good father," he said.
Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said it was with a heavy heart that he had to impose a 12-month sentence but he had to send out a message to other young people that they could not drink and drive.