Crash victim's son asks judge not to jail driver

Anne Lucey

The family of an American tourist who died following an horrific crash at a crossroads near Tralee appealed to a criminal court judge on Tuesday not to jail the young driver who was found guilty for the accident.

Aine Stack, a 23-year-old veterinary assistant from Bedford, Listowel, was found guilty by unanimous verdict of dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to 67-year-old John Lenahan from Colorado who died 10 days after a crash at Clogherbrien, Tralee, in August 2013.

There were emotional scenes as Mr Lenahan's son, Robert, read a victim impact statement at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday. He said the events of August 2013 had a traumatic impact on his family and losing a husband, a father and a grandfather in such an unnecessary way was hard to fathom.

"However, as a family, we believe Ms Stack's intentions that day were not to kill my dad," he said, asking that although her actions had led to his father's death, her life should not be ruined and she should not be jailed.

"We believe, as a family, in forgiveness; my dad would as well," he told Judge Thomas E O'Donnell.

Afterwards Mr Lenahan approached Ms Stack to speak with her and comfort her.

Ms Stack had pleaded not guilty to an initial charge of  dangerous causing the death of John Lenahan on August 30, 2013 at Clogherbrien, Tralee.

Mr Lenahan, who died 10 days after the horrific crash, was a front seat passenger in the rental car driven by his son, Robert, who told the trial they had been discussing the pink sunset ahead of them when the accident occurred.

Judge Thomas E O’Donnell has adjourned passing sentence to Thursday.