Suspended jail term for crash that killed bride

A judge said he could not “remotely estimate the incalculable loss”, of a woman to her family.

Suspended jail term for crash that killed bride

He was speaking as he passed sentence on Elizabeth Lawal, aged 36, of Heron St, Aston Village, Drogheda, who admitted dangerous driving causing the death of Emily Maguire Kennedy, aged 27, on Sept 12, 2011, on the Termonfeckin road, Drogheda.

Ms Maguire Kennedy was visiting Termonfeckin, Co Louth, from America with her US navy husband, Sean Kennedy.

They had had a marriage ceremony in Termonfeckin Church a few days earlier, and the couple was due to return to their US home the day after the collision.

The court heard Lawal, a mother of three, was unfamiliar with the crossroad at Beauleau Cross on the main Termonfeckin to Drogheda road, and had driven straight through a stop sign.

It was shortly after 10.15am. Ms Maguire Kennedy was a back-seat passenger in a Kia Sportage being driven by her brother, Paul Maguire.

Mr Maguire told gardaí he was almost on the junction when he saw Lawal’s car coming to his right. Mr Maguire was on the main road and Lawal had come out from a minor road.

Lawal’s Nissan Almera “drove through the cross roads” and hit the rear of the Kia on the driver’s side, Judge Michael O’Shea was told at Dundalk Circuit Court.

The Kia was put into a spin, crossed the road, and rolled 180 degrees until it faced the way it had come.

Ms Maguire Kennedy had a pulse at the scene, but died shortly after arrival at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

Gda Sgt Peter O’Hare said there were signs on the minor road, as well as writing on the road, warning of the junction. “There were two stop signs either side of the road,” he said.

Lawal pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, and told gardaí she was a home care helper and diversions had sent her onto a road with which she was unfamiliar.

Her barrister, Damien Colgan, said she has three children under 12, and is very religious and prays for Ms Maguire Kennedy every day.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Kennedy said he and Emily had married in Feb 2010 and she had been “my wife, best friend, and the one to spend the rest of my life with”.

“She would have made the most wonderful mother and grandmother,” he said, and, “was taken from me as our life together was getting started”.

He described how her death has left his life “empty of joy”, and “her loss caused me to be discharged from the navy after 13 years”.

“What I think about most is how I never got to say ‘goodbye and I love you’ one last time,” he said.

Passing sentence, Judge O’Shea said: “It is impossible for me to calculate or estimate the loss of Emily to her husband, parents, and family.”

He imposed a two-year sentence on Lawal but suspended it on her entering into a good behaviour bond for three years. He disqualified her from driving for four years.

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