Dangerous driver who left toddler with facial scars gets licence back

Dangerous driver who left toddler with facial scars gets licence back

An occupational therapist who left a toddler with permanent facial scars after she drove dangerously through a busy junction has had her driver's licence restored.

Rachel Breen (49) was disqualified from driving for four years in December 2014 and ordered to pay €5000 after the accident in October 2012.

Breen, of Shenick Avenue, Skerries, Co Dubllin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to the then two-year-old boy at Naul Road, Balbriggan on October 6, 2012.

The court heard Breen had been travelling below the 80kph speed limit and was found at the scene administering first aid to the injured toddler. She claimed she didn’t see the upcoming junction and gardaí agreed it was a poorly marked and badly-surfaced secondary road.

Judge Desmond Hogan described Breen at the original sentence hearing in 2014 as a “decent woman” who had made a “serious error of judgement, with serious consequences.” He disqualified her from driving for four years and ordered her to pay €5000 in damages.

At a brief hearing in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Sandra Frayne BL, representing Breen, said her client wished to apply for the restoration of her licence. She said Breen had been off the road since December 2014 and required a driver's licence for her job.

“It's a very responsible job,” Ms Frayne said.

Under the Road Traffic Act, a driver can apply for the early restoration of their licence when half their disqualification period is over, under a number of conditions.

The court heard the prosecution had no objection to the application and Judge Karen O'Connor granted it.

The court previously heard that the toddler’s mother had been driving on the Naul Road towards Millfield Shopping Centre when she felt a sudden impact.

Her vehicle lifted up briefly on the passenger side and collided with a third car.

The woman later told gardai she had pleaded with passers-by to get her son out of the back in case the car caught on fire.

The driver of the third car described seeing a silver Skoda Octavia plough into the junction, causing an oncoming vehicle to hit his.

The fire services had to cut this man from his car as his foot had become stuck.

Breen told gardaí she leapt out of her car, which was also occupied by her teenage daughter and the daughter’s two friends, and immediately tried to help the woman and child.

She said she took the baby out of the back seat and sat with him in her lap as emergency services arrived.

The child was left with scars to his face.

In a victim impact statement, the child’s mother said he fully recalled the crash and though he had been afraid to get into a car afterwards, he could now travel without incident.

She described her son as a “happy child” but said the accident had affected her psychologically.