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'I warned OAP parking would end in tragedy'

A PENSIONER has denied a charge of dangerous parking after her stationary car was in a three-car collision which resulted in the death of her elderly friend.

A jury in Limerick Circuit Criminal Court yesterday heard that a pedestrian, Jim Corbett (80), died following a series of crashes outside his home at Ballyfruta, Ballylanders, Co Limerick on November 26, 2010.

At 6pm, Mary Meade (70) from Lissard, Galbally, Co Limerick had parked her car outside the Corbett home and went inside the house.

John O'Sullivan, prosecuting, told Judge Carroll Moran that this was "a very sad case" as Ms Meade and her family knew the deceased, who was a father of eight.

After calling to the Corbett home, the jury heard that Ms Meade said goodbye and turned on the lights of her black Opel Astra so as to travel home.

Motorist Finbarr O'Sullivan was driving to Fermoy when he came upon Ms Meade's parked car just before 9pm. He said he came around the bend and was blinded by her headlights.

"I lost all focus of where I was. All vision of the road was gone from me. I stayed left of the lights and hit the ditch," Mr O'Sullivan said.

After parking his car on the side of the road, the motorist walked back to the Astra where he said he saw the driver's door open and the lights on.

Upset

Mr O'Sullivan said he told Ms Meade that "she nearly killed me" and told her "umpteen times to turn off her lights and move her car".

He admitted he was upset and told Ms Meade several times that when a car came around the bend, the driver was blinded by her headlights.

"I couldn't get the point through to her. If you don't move it, you are going to end up killing somebody... In the end I pleaded with her to move the car," Mr O'Sullivan said.

He said she told him to ring the guards. "I was dumbfounded by it," he added.

He returned to his car to get his phone, but as he did so he heard a large collision. He said he heard a female voice screaming: "Oh Jesus Christ, oh my God, oh my God" and saw debris and lights spinning on the road.

He said a jeep was embedded into the front of the Astra and a man staggered out on to the road, pointed at the Astra and said: "I couldn't see a thing".

A Honda Civic was embedded into back of the jeep and the driver got out and said, "I didn't have anywhere to go".

Prosecutor John O'Sullivan told the jury that Mr Corbett was standing in the open door of Ms Meade's car when the jeep collided into her Astra and he suffered fatal injuries.

Ms Meade (70) from Lissard, Galbally, Co Limerick has pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment and dangerous parking. She is a widowed mother of four and was married to a well-known publican.

Defence counsel, Mark Nicholas contended that Meade only had her dipped headlights on when parked alongside the Corbett home.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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