By Gordon Deegan
A Polish tourist was killed in a car accident near the Cliffs of Moher two years ago after a driver was confused about his SatNav telling him to go the wrong direction.
At Ennis Circuit Court, counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL said that the State accepted that Grzegorz Barski’s SatNav telling him to go straight on instead of taking a right for the Cliffs of Moher at a junction was a contributory cause in the fatal accident on May 31, 2016.
In the crash, the front seat passenger in Mr Barski’s car, Grzegorz Frydrych died while a motorcyclist, Charles Killeen, who collided with the car, suffered head injuries, including a fractured skull and multiple broken facial bones and was hospitalised for one month.
In the case, Mr Barski (36) of Jugback Crescent, Swords, Co Dublin has pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of Mr Frydrych and careless driving causing serious bodily harm to Mr Killeen.
Mr Barski’s car collided with Mr Killeen’s motorbike at a junction on the Wild Atlantic Way near the Cliffs of Moher after Mr Barski failed to spot a 'Stop' sign near the junction.
Counsel for Mr Barski, Rebecca Treacy BL said that Mr Barski was following a SatNav system in travelling from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher.
Mr Barski was travelling along the Wild Altantic Way with his friend, Mr Frydrych and a female passenger who was in the back seat of the car.
Mr Barski was driving up a narrow country road near Doonagore Castle in Doolin that would meet with a junction on the R478 that would lead south to the Cliffs of Moher.
Ms Treacy said: “On coming to the junction, Mr Barski thought that he had to go right to the Cliffs and the SatNAV was telling him to go straight on.
“Mr Barski had slowed down and was confused in relation to the instructions that the SatNAV system was giving to him at the time and this would be a factor in how he missed the 'Stop' sign and continued to drive through the particular junction.”
Mr Connolly agreed, stating that Mr Barski told Gardai that he remembered the brown tourist sign for the Cliffs of Moher telling him to go right while his SatNav was telling him to go straight on.
Mr Connolly said that Mr Barski was confused, didn’t know which was to way to go and before he knew it, it was too late as there was an impact with Mr Killeen’s motorcycle.
Mr Connolly said: “The confusion about the SatNav and momentarily inattention to see the 'Stop' sign is what caused the accident.”
Ms Treacy said that the 'Stop' sign was located back from the junction and that there were no road markings confirming that there was a requirement to stop at the junction. She said that the 'Stop' markings on the road have since been painted on the road.
Ms Treacy said that there was simply no aggravating factors in the accident.
She said that there was no speed and that Mr Barski slowed down coming up to the junction.
Mr Barski had not taken any alcohol on the day and Ms Treacy said that he had a flawless driving record and no previous convictions before the crash.
Mr Barski works as a kitchen porter and has been living in Ireland for the past 10 years.
Ms Treacy said: “It was simply a momentary lapse in concentration. Mr Barski’s remorse over the death of his friend is genuine and he offers his sincere deep apologies.”
Ms Treacy said that there had been an early plea in the case. Judge Gerald Keys remanded Mr Barski on continuing bail and adjourned sentencing to May 21.