Dylan O’Mahony, aged 22, was yesterday jailed for two and a half years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, causing the death of 28-year-old Daniel “Dano” Conroy, in the early hours of March 18 of last year.
The victim’s mother told Clonmel Circuit Court how part of her went with her son when he was taken, and how “the bright light of my life has been extinguished”.
O’Mahony, of 303 Elm Park, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, also pleaded guilty to driving while over the alcohol limit, driving without insurance, and three further counts of dangerous driving, and was banned from driving for 10 years.
Garda Ruairi McGovern told the court O’Mahony went to a pub in Irishtown, Clonmel, on St Patrick’s night last year and later drove his 2000-registered Honda Accord to an apartment on The Quay in Clonmel, where he consumed “three or four bottles of beer”.
O’Mahony later drove the wrong way down a one-way system, with his lights off, and was seen by the Garda Regional Support Unit, who followed the accused and signalled him to stop.
As he headed towards the Fethard Rd roundabout on the edge of town, the Garda car had its lights and sirens activated but Sergeant Curry of the RSU told colleagues that “the vehicle was going too fast and they were pulling back”.
Minutes later they saw O’Mahony on the side of the road in Rathronan, about 3km from Clonmel. O’Mahony admitted driving away from gardaí and they found the car behind a ditch with the passenger — Mr Conroy, from Auburn Park, Clonmel — unresponsive. He was pronounced dead an hour later.
A Garda investigation found the car was being driven at a speed of up to 120km/h, failed to negotiate a left-hand bend and went across the road, struck a wall, and became airborne before landing in a field.
In a victim impact statement, Niamh Conroy said: “My son Daniel was my rock and my best friend… He always said to me, ‘don’t worry Mam, I’ll look after you,’ and he always said, ‘I’ll always be here for you’.”
The accused took the witness stand himself to apologise to the Conroy family. “I wish I could change things, but I can’t. There’s not a day goes by when I don’t wake up thinking about it. I’m really, really sorry. I hope some day you’ll forgive me.”