A man who left the scene of an accident in Ballymahon in which another man sustained two broken legs nearly two years ago, and who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing bodily harm at last week’s circuit court in Longford was sentenced to three years in prison of which the judge suspended the last two during his ruling on the matter this afternoon.
Rafael Dudek, 20 Auburn Village, Ballymahon, Longford appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson charged in connection with the incident which occurred in Ballymahon in December 2015.
The court heard how on the date in question Mr Dudek was driving his car when he swerved to avoid a cat, mounted a footpath and hit a steel barrier that subsequently collapsed on a pedestrian walking in the area.
The pedestrian suffered two broken legs in the incident - “life changing injuries” the court was told.
The court also heard that Mr Dudek went into shock and thinking that he had “killed a man”, left the scene and did not return home until 7am the next morning.
Judge Johnson was told that he subsequently contacted gardaí at 6am to report the previous night’s accident.
During this afternoon’s ruling, Judge Johnson said it was clear that the defendant’s driving had been “extremely dangerous” given that he had mounted the footpath, hit a barrier and resulted in serious injury to the victim.
“The fact that the accused did not remain at the scene and did not report the matter to the Gardaí until 6am the following morning, and did not seek assistance or aid for the victim are all aggravating factors that the court must take into account,” he continued.
“The effect of the offending on the victim is another factor that the court must take into account and it is clear that as a consequence of the accused’s dangerous driving the victim suffered life changing injuries.
“As a consequence the victim has been unable to return to work and is still suffering regular bouts of pain.”
In determining sentence, Judge Johnson said the court was satisfied that while a portion of the three year sentence could be suspended, it was equally satisfied that a custodial sentence could not be avoided given the actions of the defendant in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
“In particular the fact that the accused left the scene knowing that the victim was seriously injured is an extremely aggravating factor that the court cannot ignore,” added the Judge.
Mr Dudek was subsequently ordered to enter a bond of €500 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of five years and pay the victim €5,000 within a period of two years post release.
He was also banned from driving for 10 years.
The prison sentence was backdated to November 14 which is the date that the defendant first went into the custody.