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Truck driver avoids jail over fatal motorway crash

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Barry Grogan. Photo: Courtpix

Barry Grogan. Photo: Courtpix

Barry Grogan. Photo: Courtpix

A truck driver who crashed into a broken-down car on the M50 causing the death of its driver has received a fully suspended sentence.

Barry Grogan (38), of Thornville Avenue, Kilbarrack, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to careless driving causing the death of Martina Loughlin near the M50 Lucan junction on November 11, 2015.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Grogan to one year's imprisonment but suspended the entirety of the sentence for a year providing he keeps the peace and is of good behaviour. He also suspended Grogan from driving for four years, starting on March 18 this year.

Sergeant Padraig Jennings told Paul Murray SC, prosecuting, that just before 5am on the morning in question, Ms Loughlin was driving to her job in UCD when her car broke down and stopped on the M50 near the Lucan junction.

She sat in her car for around 17 minutes prior to the incident, attempting to contact her insurance company while vehicles navigated around her.

Witnesses reported being able to see the car's hazard warning lights, despite the torrential rain.

Grogan was driving a Volvo lorry which struck Ms Loughlin's car and propelled it 60 metres forwards down the road. A second vehicle drove into Ms Loughlin's car around seven seconds after the first crash. The driver of this truck does not face prosecution.

Ms Loughlin was taken from the scene and pronounced dead on November 14, 2015 as a result of injuries caused by the collision.

In a voluntary statement to gardaĆ­ a month after the accident, Grogan said he did not see the hazard warning lights before the crash. He said he "really wished" the crash had never happened.

In a victim impact statement which was read out in court, Ms Loughlin's partner and extended family described the "devastating loss" they had suffered and said that Ms Loughlin had been "the link who kept us all together".

"Our hearts froze in November 2015 and we fear they may never thaw," they revealed.

Sgt Jennings agreed with John D Fitzgerald SC, defending, that the crash had been caused by inattention. Mr Fitzgerald extended an apology on behalf of his client to the Loughlin family and remarked that Grogan was "visibly upset in court".

Grogan is married with two children and has no previous convictions.

In considering the sentence, Judge Nolan said he took into account Grogan's plea of guilty, his co-operation and his obvious remorse.

He remarked that he did not think "there is a person in this court who hasn't been inattentive".

Irish Independent