Defendant claims driver of car in fatal Longford collision told him he was exceeding speed limit

Liam Cosgrove

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Liam Cosgrove

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Defendant claims driver of car in fatal Longford collision told him he was exceeding speed limit

Defendant claims driver of car in fatal Longford collision told him he was exceeding speed limit

A man accused of careless driving which resulted in the death of another man following a road accident in Co Longford two and a half years ago has claimed the driver of a car involved in the collision had told him he had been exceeding the speed limit seconds before tragedy struck.

Jamie O'Reilly, Cartrongar, Drumlish, Co Longford has pleaded not guilty to careless driving causing the death of Joseph Reynolds (18) Garvary, Moyne, Co Longford.

He has also pleaded not guilty to careless driving causing serious bodily harm to David Gregg, Garrow Hill, Newtownforbes, Co Longford.

The trial before Judge Keenan Johnston at Longford Circuit Court has today heard how Mr O'Reilly had been attempting to exit a field on the main N4 between Rooskey and Newtownforbes at around 11:30pm on July 17, 2016 after finishing mowing a field. 

During those attempts, the court heard how Mr O' Reilly's tractor was involved in a collision with a black Toyota Starlet.

The driver of the Starlet car, Liam Doherty, told of how he and three other friends had been in the process of travelling towards Carrick on Shannon on the night with a view to seeing a DJ who was due to play in the Co Leitrim town.

He explained how despite his best efforts to avoid colliding with the tractor, the car struck the front right wheel of the tractor, causing it to spin out of control before eventually coming to a halt.

Under cross examination by Defence Counsel John Shortt SC, Mr Doherty said he had not exceeded the 100km/hr speed limit on the night and instead was 'doing roughly 95-100km/hr'.

"I seen it (tractor) pull out of the field," he said. "He was still pulling out when I was on top of him. It was all a matter of seconds."

In his memorandum of interview four months after the accident, the court was told that the defendant Mr O'Reilly believed the car involved had been speeding.

After the incident, he said, after approaching Mr Doherty, he asked him: "What f***ing speed were you doing?" 

Mr O'Reilly said at that point Mr Doherty told him he had been doing 120km/hr, 20km/hr above the authorised speed limit. Mr Doherty denies this. 

Garda Forensic Collision Investigator John Creegan said the lack of an amber beacon being in place of the tractor being driven by Mr O'Reilly was a contributory factor in the incident.

He also said the overgrown nature of a hedgerow may have impaired Mr O'Reilly's vision as he attempted to exit the field.

It is the State's case Mr O'Reilly was at the wheel of a red Valtra tractor without a flashing amber beacon being in operation which ultimately brought about the fatal collision.

The trial continues before a jury of eight women and four men.

ALSO READ: Driver of car in fatal N4 Longford crash tells court: 'I was on top of tractor before I saw it'

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