Sunday 16 June 2019

Eye-witnesses ran towards crash to help

Articulated lorry driver Kevin Cogan was approaching the Council hedge-cutting operation at Castlebaldwin from the Sligo direction when he saw another artic white truck travelling towards him in the opposite direction.

Conscious of the traffic cones to both sides of the road, he was watching his side mirror in case a car behind him would try to overtake him, not realising another lorry was oncoming.

All of a sudden, he "heard a thump and a loud bang" and immediately checked his passenger mirror to see if he had hit one of the cones.

Then he realised the white lorry (driven by the accused Vlastimil Zachar) had "come to a halt, with steam and smoke in the air."

He and other drivers behind him pulled in and ran back to the scene where he found Thomas Colleary "in a daze", and saw Damien Davey lying on the grass verge.

The witness agreed with Prosecuting Counsel Ms Orla Crowe SC that he found no pulse on the late Padraig Noone's remains and knew instantly he had passed away.

The Council worker's injured colleague Damien Davey wanted Mr Cogan to stay with the victim but Mr Cogan said he was worried about Mr Davey who was losing consciousness.

He then saw a hand in the artic lorry cab and realised the driver was still inside.

Riverstown native and Resuscitation nurse in Dublin Linda Farren came on the scene and Mr Cogan went over to talk to the accused, Vlastimil Zachar in his truck.

"I told him help was on the way. He was visibly shook," he told the jury of eight men and four women.

She was definite she had seen a board sign warning of the hedge-cutting just at the border of Roscommon and Sligo that day as she drove towards Sligo.

She pulled in when she came upon the crash and described how the JCB was "definitely up on the verge on the hill and it was definitely at an angle."

"I remember being under it with one man and it was definitely tilted, there were furrows from the JCB," she said. She tended to Damien Davey first, then the driver of the JCB whose face was "covered in blood" (Anthony Fehily, pictured above).

Ms Farren tended to the driver of the Council truck also.

Motorcyclist Anthony Rooney's deposition was read out by Ms Crowe, in which he said it looked like the white artic lorry hit the other truck "head on and jack-knifed."

"It was total carnage, a horrible sight," he said.

Motorist Colm Taheny testified that he found the accused "very agitated and in shock".

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Ms Eileen O'Leary SC, Mr Taheny said Zachar was "shaken, agitated."

"That was probably from shock," he said, adding that Zachar did not speak to him.

Boyle paramedic Charles O'Donnell testified that he tended to Zachar at the scene but communication was difficult as there was a language barrier.

"He was comfortable, conscious and stable. His vital signs were OK," he said. They had no concerns about his condition and took him to hospital.

Sligo Champion