Saturday 24 March 2018

Teen with Asperger's hit and killed by car as parents tried to move him from road, jury hears

Greg Harkin

Parents of a teenage boy with Asperger Syndrome were trying to move him from a road when he was hit and killed by a passing car, a jury has been told.

Callum Dale, (13), died near his home in Buncrana, Co Donegal, as a result of the collision on March 13, 2014.

Rachel Fullerton, (35), from Meentahalla, Illies, Co Donegal has pleaded not guilty at Letterkenny Circuit Criminal Court to a single charge of causing the death of the boy by careless driving.

Opening the case for the prosecution before a jury of seven women and five men today, counsel for the DPP Patricia McLaughlin told the jury that on the night of the incident Callum lost his life and his father Peter was injured.

She urged the jury to leave their emotions to one side in the case.

Ms McLaughlin said the teenager had been diagnosed with Asperger’s and was prone to “eruptions”.

She said this had happened on the night of his death and one way his mother Deirdre used to calm him down was to take him for a drive.

But before 10pm on March 13, 2014, Callum left the home and didn’t get into the family car.

Instead, said Ms McLaughlin, he had walked off from the family home.

Around 10.30pm, she said, Callum was either sitting or lying on the main road from Buncrana to Illies.

His father Peter was beside him trying to get him to move from the road whilst his mother Deirdre was standing nearby – also on the road – where she was attempting to warn oncoming traffic.

She said Ms Fullerton was driving along the road and collided with Callum and his father.

Ms McLaughlin said the incident happened on a straight stretch of road which had been lit up by street lights.

She said there was no suggestion that Ms Fullerton was speeding or using a mobile phone.

Ms McLaughlin said the situation was an “emergency” adding: “She (Ms Fullerton) should have seen them and she should have been able to stop.”

The trial continues.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News