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10-foot ditch Driver who suffered ‘lapse in concentration’ struck cyclist, leaving her with life-changing injuries, court told


Swords District Court

Swords District Court

Swords District Court

A DRIVER who had a “lapse in concentration” struck a cyclist and left her with life-changing injuries after she fell to the bottom of a 10-foot ditch, a court has heard.

John Turner (44) was so distracted by the collision he struck another male cyclist, who had been riding in front of his wife.

Judge Dermot Dempsey sentenced Turner to nine months in prison and disqualified him from driving for eight years.

The defendant, of Belcotton, Termonfeckin, Co Louth, admitted dangerous driving and uninsured driving on the R129 Lusk to Ballyboughal Road on January 5, 2020.

Garda Ian Tiernan told Swords District Court that Turner was making a manoeuvre when he saw an oncoming car.

He swerved into the right-hand side of the road and hit the female cyclist.

Gda Tiernan said the male cyclist was in front of his wife, and was initially unaware she had been struck. He was then hit by the same vehicle.

Turner thought he had insurance through a motor trade policy but he was not insured.

The garda said the female cyclist, who is in her 50s, fell to the bottom of a 10-foot ditch and was saved from a serious head injury as her body became trapped between a tree branch and the bank.

She was knocked unconscious and taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital.

She suffered two damaged vertebrae, had a spinal fusion and six screws in her back, and now had limited mobility and sciatica due to her injury.

Her husband suffered soft tissue damage to his back.

Defence solicitor Fiona D’Arcy said Turner rang the ambulance at the scene. He was appalled by what had happened and wished to apologise to the cyclists.

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Turner suffered a lapse in concentration, she said, and was distracted by the collision when he hit the second cyclist.

Ms D’Arcy said Turner had not driven since this incident, suffered flashbacks and had difficulty sleeping.

In a victim impact statement, the female said she had not been on a bike since. She also lived with the realisation that she could have been killed or paralysed.

Her husband said he suffered flashbacks of his wife lying unconscious in a ditch.

He had only returned to cycling two years after the accident, but would only cycle in groups.

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