Driver braked deliberately in front of me, says nun

A missionary nun driving near Carrigaline, Co Cork, on a Sunday morning was strongly of the view that a car slammed on the brakes deliberately and without warning in order to force her to crash into the back of it.

A witness who arrived on the scene saw three or four people in the car that was struck, rubbing their necks as soon as it happened.

Lucyna Wisnioska, of the St Peter Claver Missionary sisters in Terenure, Dublin, told Cork District Court that she was driving towards Cork City when the collision happened on a straight stretch at around 11.30am on May 7, 2017.

She said no indicators or brake lights came on the car in front of her.

“I am driving since 1981,” said Sr Wisnioska.

“This was unavoidable. I have been driving in so many countries.”

Petru Munteanu, aged 27, of Freenvalet, Market Square, Mallow, Co Cork, pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving without due care and attention.

Defence solicitor Daniel Johnson asked the nun: “How did the car stop without brake lights?”

She replied: “That is my question as well. It was done purposefully. I don’t know what they have done but there were no lights. I am 100% sure of that. It seems to me someone was trying to do it purposefully.”

Another motorist, Bernard Lynch, driving behind the nun that morning, said traffic stopped so suddenly he was fortunate to avoid colliding with her car.

“In 30 years experience, I cannot recall ever seeing anything happening so quickly on the road,” he said.

Garda Brian Motyer said the four occupants of the car that was struck, Mr Munteanu and three other members of the Munteanu family, asked to be taken to Cork University Hospital by ambulance that morning.

When Petru Munteanu got into the witness box to give evidence at Cork District Court, the first thing he said to Judge John King was: “First of all, judge, it is unfortunate to see a nun in the court. I am very sorry for that.”

He said that he braked suddenly, the brake lights were working and he also turned on his left indicator.

Marcel and Barnel Munteanu were passengers in the car and they testified that they heard the indicator light going on.

Petru Munteanu said: “Some people say it was on purpose. I did not do it on purpose.”

Questioned by Inspector Gary McPolin, he said: “I don’t know what kind of person does it on purpose.”

The inspector said, “You braked suddenly. Poor sister hit you from behind. She hadn’t a hope [of avoiding collision].”

Mr Johnson suggested that the driving error was in the car driven by the nun.

Judge King disagreed and convicted and fined Petru Munteanu €500 for driving without due care and attention.

The judge said he did not have to decide on allegation that the actions were deliberate. He had a previous similar conviction and one for failing to indicate.

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