Saturday 14 December 2019

Partially-sighted driver 'did not see lights' in fatal smash

Ann Healy

A LORRY driver with vision in only one eye who knocked down and killed a man at pedestrian traffic lights did not know they even existed, although he had travelled on that road for five months on a regular basis.

David Noonan (46), from Spittle, Ballylanders, Co Limerick, pleaded guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving at a pedestrian crossing adjacent to Dunnes Stores at Terryland Road, Galway, on February 24 last year, which caused the death of hotel receptionist John Taaffe (30).

Other traffic had stopped on the outside city-bound lane of the dual-carriageway when the lights went red at 7.10am but Noonan, who was driving a lorry laden with tyres on the inside lane, never stopped because he never saw the lights.

He hit Mr Taaffe, who was almost across the road, at 30mph.

The court heard that Noonan had been blind in his right eye from birth and that his line of vision was impaired on that side.

Mr Taaffe had been walking across the dual carriageway and had the right of way at the time. He was carried for 40 metres down the road by the lorry, which also ran over him.

Mr Taaffe, a native of Castleknock, Dublin, had made Galway his home after attending college there and was working as a receptionist at a local hotel.

He never regained full consciousness and died a few weeks later in Beaumont hospital.

Noonan received a 12-month suspended sentence along with an eight-year driving ban.

Irish Independent

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