Baby 'catapulted' from road crash van, court is told

Melissa Delaney

By Ralph Riegel

A MOTORIST spoke of his horror at seeing a van overturn after hitting a roadside bank and a baby then being catapulted from the wrecked vehicle.

The revelation came as young mother Melissa Delaney denied dangerous driving causing the death of her four-year-old daughter, Kathleen O'Brien, two years ago.

Delaney, of Radharc na Fia, Convent Road, Doneraile, Cork, denies a single charge of dangerous driving causing the death of her daughter.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that the charge arises from a fatal accident at Kilmona, Blarney, on the Cork-Mallow Road on July 13, 2013.

Judge Donagh McDonagh and a jury of eight men and four women yesterday heard the State outline the details of the case.

Don McCarthy BL, for the State, said the fatal incident occurred shortly after 4pm that Saturday.

The incident occurred at the Grenagh junction on the main Cork-Limerick road and involved a van being driven by the defendant.

The vehicle also contained her husband and their two young daughters, one of whom was Kathleen.

It was travelling from the Cork direction when the tragedy occurred.

Mr McCarthy said it is the State's case that the van was being driven at speed and, as it suddenly manoeuvred around a vehicle that was turning left, it mounted a roadside bank.

"In the course of this something was seen to come out from the van. Tragically, that turned out to be the little girl who was killed," he said.

Witness Donal McCarthy said that he was driving from Cork at the time.

He had travelled towards Mallow and indicated to turn at the Grenagh junction.

As he was about to turn his Skoda Octavia saloon, he said he heard the noise of sharp braking coming from behind.

"I was proceeding along the filter lane (when) I heard a screech of brakes from behind me. There was a white van coming at speed behind me," he said.

The driver said he initially feared there was going to be a collision so he attempted to increase his speed in order to avoid an impact.

He then spotted a vehicle which had travelled on the inside of his car.


"The next thing I realised the van was inside me (heading towards) the grass verge," he said.

The motorist said he watched as the van hit the bank and suddenly lost control.

"It turned over - maybe it turned over two times or more. There was something thrown from the van. Something just flew right out," he said.

"I fairly quickly realised that it was a child. I got out of the car and I just froze. There were people coming from all directions," he added.

The case continues today.