Sunday 18 March 2018

Violence of death shocked me to my core, says widow

Willie Crowley, who was killed by dangerous driver Damien Kalinski, pictured with his wife, Claire Doyle
Willie Crowley, who was killed by dangerous driver Damien Kalinski, pictured with his wife, Claire Doyle

Declan Brennan

The grieving widow of a councillor killed by a dangerous driver, who had been banned from the road at the time, said "the brutal violence of his death" had shocked her "to the core".

Kildare councillor Willie Crowley (65) died after he was struck by speeding driver Damien Klasinski (29), on Eyre Street in Newbridge, Co Kildare, on December 15, 2015.

Klasinski, who had already been banned from driving for previous offences, pleaded guilty.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he was speeding and didn't brake when his uninsured car struck Mr Crowley.

The councillor was on his way home to prepare a menu for a communal Christmas dinner for people in need when he was fatally injured.

Claire Doyle said her husband was a volunteer who cooked for the festive feast in the community each year.

In her victim impact statement Mrs Doyle told how her life unravelled after her husband's death.

"I was driven to Naas hospital by a member of the gardaí," she said.

"Nothing could have prepared me for what awaited me there - my husband Willie's battered, bruised and broken body, his shattered skull and some hours later the devastating news that there was nothing that could be done because of the severity of the brain injuries.

"I spent the next three days and nights at Willie's bedside hoping against hope for a miracle.

"The miracle did not happen," she said.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Klasinski was speeding at the time.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death. Klasinski, of The Oaks, Newbridge, drove off after hitting Mr Crowley. He told the other passengers in the car: "What am I supposed to do?"

After his arrest he told gardaí he had panicked, saying: "I am very sorry. It was an accident. I'm really hoping this man recovers."

Detective Garda Sergeant James O'Sullivan told Lorcan Staines BL, prosecuting, that Mr Crowley was walking home from the pub on the night but was not intoxicated.

He was crossing the street when Klasinski's car struck him. Eye witnesses estimated him to be travelling at speeds up to 80kmh. It had rained earlier in the day making the road wet.

Judge Melanie Greally said Klasinski was driving at a speed much too fast for the conditions on the night. She adjourned the case to May 12 next for sentence.

The court heard Klasinski, a Polish national, has 13 previous convictions mainly for road traffic offences, including being disqualified from driving for two years for driving without insurance in November 2015 and being convicted of drunk driving earlier that year.

Irish Independent

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