A woman who appeared before a recent sitting of Longford Circuit Court was remanded in custody to await sentencing after pleading guilty to drink driving causing serious bodily harm on December 17, 2016 at Ballywillan, Granard, Co Longford.
Outlining the evidence to the court, Mr Shane Geraghty, Counsel for the State said that Garda Michael Shanley, Granard Garda Station, attended the scene of a two-car road traffic collision at Ballywillan, Granard.
The court was told that the Garda observed a blue Golf which had been driven by the defendant who was sitting in the car in a semiconscious state.
The other car - a Toyota Auris - was “extremely damaged” the court heard, and the driver, Mr Raymond Thompson, was standing on the roadside “complaining of pain”.
“Ms Curran was unable to give a breath sample and she was taken to the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar where a urine sample indicated a reading of 227 mg/alcohol per 100 ml/urine,” added Mr Geraghty, before pointing out that when the defendant was later interviewed by Gardaí, she made full admissions as to what occurred.
The court also heard that the defendant was disqualified from driving at the time of the accident.
“She said she had been sitting in her boyfriend’s car in Abbeylara when they had a row.
“She went back to her own house but later tried to contact him by getting into the car; she said she regretted the incident, regretted hitting the injured party and was sorry for what she did.”
The court was then told about the victim’s injuries.
“Initially Mr Thompson was attended to by a member of the public and was also very concerned about Ms Curran,” Mr Geraghty continued, before pointing out that he then attended Our Lady of Lourdes, Hospital in Drogheda.
“He had a seat-belt mark on his right shoulder and two fractures on his vertebrae; an MRI of the spine was performed and a brace applied with follow-up clinics in January & March 2017.
“In March his injuries were deemed to be healed.”
Meanwhile, the injured party’s victim impact statement was read into evidence.
“Mr Thompson said he had a fractured spine and broken collar-bone,” Mr Geraghty added.
“He also said that he still has lower back pain on a daily basis and his confidence when driving has been affected.
“He said that as a member of the defence forces and because of this accident, there will be life paths within the army that he will now not be able to follow.”
Mr Des Dockery, SC for the defendant, meanwhile, said that his client’s actions were a “spontaneous act of stupidity”, by one who was intoxicated.
“This happened in the heat of a moment with drink taken; when the gardaí arrived at the scene of the accident she was not in a position to communicate and there were bottles and cans rolling around in the car and some onto the road,” he added, before putting the mitigating factors in the case before the court.
Mr Dockery SC said that Ms Curran had a troubled background and had gone into care at the age of 13.
“The death of her brother a few years ago had a detrimental impact on her - she was very close to him - and she has five children, the eldest of which is 17-years-old,” Counsel continued.
Meanwhile, Judge Johnson alluded to the fact that the defendant had pleaded guilty to the charge before him.
“The accused got into a car while disqualified from driving in a highly intoxicated state and clearly she drove in an extremely dangerous fashion,” the Judge said.
“Mr Thompson was seriously injured and these injuries have limited his career in the army - I sincerely hope that Mr Thompson is properly compensated for his injuries, although at the end of the day no amount of compensation will bring him back to the way he was in the life he had before the accident.”
The Judge went on to say that while he acknowledged there was no pre-meditation or intention on the part of Ms Curran to harm Mr Thompson, there was no getting past the fact that she did get into a car in a highly intoxicated state and drive in a careless and reckless fashion.
“She drove straight onto a main road and hit Mr Thompson’s car at speed and she also has a poor history when it comes to road traffic matters,” Judge Johnson continued.
“She too suffered injuries in the accident including a fractured hip, punctured lung and was in hospital for some time.
“The court has to send out a clear message that people who engage in drink driving will serve a custodial sentence.”
Ms Curran was subsequently remanded in custody to October 2 when she will be sentenced in respect of matters.
Before concluding, the Judge also indicated that she would be disqualified from driving for 25 years.