Drink driver’s friend died in €175 car

Friends of a driver who had drink taken pleaded with him not to drive a car he had bought for €175, minutes before the crash in which one of his friends died.

Eunan McBrearty was jailed for three and half years and banned from driving for 20 years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Bobby Rodgers.

McBrearty, now aged 27, was already disqualified from driving when he crashed the 1995 Opel Astra at Murlog, Lifford, Co Donegal in May, 2012.

Some of the first people on the scene were relatives of the dead man.

McBrearty, who admitted drinking beer and vodka before he crashed, appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court for sentence after pleading guilty to the charge at a previous court sitting.

Sgt Maurice Doyle outlined the chain of events which led to the death of Mr Rodgers.

He revealed how McBrearty and the two other passengers in the car, the late Mr Rodgers and another man, Paul Carolyn, were also thrown from the vehicle when it crashed around lunchtime on May 6.

Just minutes beforehand, members of Mr Carolyn’s family had pleaded with the men not to get into the car after they had been drinking and had even tried to take the car keys from them.

When the car would not start, the three then pushed the vehicle before it ‘push-started.’

Minutes later there were scenes of carnage when the car flipped over after failing to take a bend at Murlog on the N14 road between Lifford and Letterkenny.

Mr Rodgers died instantly at the scene while the two other men received serious injuries.

McBrearty didn’t remember anything about the crash when he woke up in hospital.

Sgt Doyle said a forensic examination of the scene said the estimated maximum speed for safely negotiating the bend on which the car crashed was 125km/h which suggested the car had been travelling at a greater speed.

A victim impact statement was read out on behalf of the man killed in the incident.

It described the late Bobby Rodgers as the main character in his house as he was always laughing and joking.

He was the third youngest in a family of nine children and his sudden death left his parents and brothers and sisters simply devastated.

The statement also condemned McBrearty, of Woodthorpe, Newtowncunningham, saying that he now lived close to their family home, was back driving and had shown little remorse for his actions.

Passing sentence, a clearly annoyed and exasperated Judge John O’Hagan asked “What is it about Donegal and young people that they want to go out and destroy each other?”

He said he had been assigned to the Northern Circuit of the Circuit Court Service for the past eight years and there had not been one time when he did not hear a case of dangerous driving causing death or something similar.

He referred to the case of Shaun Kelly in which eight people had lost their lives in Inishowen in 2010.

“I’ve tried to send out a message to stop this carnage on the roads. I might as well be talking to that wall. What do I have to do to send this message down to these young people to tell them to stop?” he asked.

He then sentenced McBrearty to four years in prison and suspended the final six months while also disqualifying him from driving for 20 years.


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