Jailed driver withdraws damages claim

A man jailed for dangerous driving causing the death of a young woman yesterday withdrew a High Court action in which he claimed damages for injuries he received in the fatal crash.

Gearoid Cleary, sued the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland for damages claiming the crash would not have happened if he was not “violently rammed” from behind by the uninsured driver of a high-powered BMW.

Mr Cleary, aged 32, of Ballinacurra Gardens, Limerick, was jailed for four years after being found guilty by a jury of dangerous driving causing the death of Emma Woodland, aged 19, on Mulgrave St, Limerick. In the criminal trial, the State argued although Latvian Roman Andreas pleaded guilty to dangerously driving the BMW and causing the death of Ms Woodland, this did not exonerate Mr Cleary, who they claimed was also driving too fast.

On September 9, 2006, Mr Cleary’s Honda Integra was propelled into a Toyota Starlet carrying Ms Woodland and driving it into a wall. The Starlet was crossing the main road ahead of Mr Cleary. He said that it would have crossed safely had he not been rear-ended by Mr Andreas. Ms Woodland was a back-seat passenger and died from head injuries.

Mr Andreas fled but was later identified. The trial heard he was twice the legal alcohol limit. He was jailed for three years but later absconded to eastern Europe. Mr Cleary, who contested the criminal case, was given four years in prison. His case against the bureau was for what his counsel, Gerry Tynan, said were significant damages he was entitled to.

When the case resumed before Mr Justice Brian Cregan, Mr Cleary’s counsel told the court the case was being withdrawn. There was no order for costs


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