Woman hurt after being struck by steel bars on passing trailer

A driver has been put on trial after a woman jogging near her home in Rosscarbery was seriously injured when struck with iron bars that came loose on a passing trailer.

Michael Herlihy, aged 38, of Derry, Rosscarbery, Co Cork, was arraigned at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

He pleaded not guilty to two charges. He denied dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to Frances O’Driscoll on April 16, 2016, at Causeway, Rosscarbery. He also denied the charge of failing to take adequate precaution to prevent a load from falling from a vehicle.

Siobhán Lankford, prosecuting, gave the jury an outline of the anticipated evidence in the case, stressing to them that this was not itself evidence.

Ms Lankford said Frances O’Driscoll was walking on the footpath on Causeway in Rosscarbery at a time when the defendant was driving his jeep with a trailer at the back.

“It had steel reinforcement bars strapped or ratcheted to the trailer. The bars came loose and projected out of the trailer and dragged on the ground. The State case is that they were not adequately secured.

“They hit Frances O’Driscoll and knocked her on the pavement causing her serious injuries,” Ms Lankford alleged.

Frances O’Driscoll was not in court but her statement of evidence was read to Judge Brian O’Callaghan and the jury of eight women and four men.

That Saturday she went for a walk at about 8.30am and was returning home by Newtown when she stopped and spoke to two people at the cross.

“I passed the Celtic Ross hotel. I was on the footpath heading for home. I had my headphones on. I don’t remember anything after that."

"I know now I was struck by steel reinforcement bars that knocked me to the ground. I had major fractures and suffered loss of sight in my left eye. I was detained for approximately 60 days in hospital. I was and still am in rehabilitation in Bantry,” Ms O’Driscoll said.

Christy Lane drove down to the Causeway that morning with his brother Noel to have a look at the water as they were about to go fishing. Both of them were on the Causeway footpath when they were knocked to the ground.

Christy Lane said: “I saw a jeep with a trailer and reinforced bars after shifting. They were now crossways on the trailer hanging out the side of the trailer. They were being dragged along. The driver of the jeep stopped 10 or 15 yards away. He got out and came back and asked were we all right.

“Then I looked up and saw the woman on the ground lying on the footpath. The driver of the jeep went up to see if this woman was OK.

“Before all this happened the woman passed us and saluted us. She was starting to jog and putting headphones on. She was heading to Clonakilty. She would have been facing cars coming towards her. The woman was injured. One leg looked shattered completely and the other leg was broken.”

Cathy Kingston was driving behind the jeep and trailer.

“There was lengths of copper bars sticking out the back of the trailer. I kept by distance behind. As I was driving down the hill a couple of bars separated and went to either side of the trailer sticking out on both sides.

"I saw a woman jogging. I just saw her fall just as the jeep and trailer passed her,” Ms Kingston said.

The case continues at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.


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