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Saturday 3 December 2016

Learner driver was driving 'flat out' as he hit and killed teen

Gareth Jones stayed at scene Picture: Collins
Gareth Jones stayed at scene Picture: Collins

A 21-year-old unaccompanied learner driver who was speeding when he hit and killed a teenager will be sentenced next week.

Gareth Jones swerved to avoid three of the boy's friends as they crossed the road but hit Paul McCormack (16) who had changed direction to try and get back to the path.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court t heard there was a fault with the ABS braking system in his Toyota Avnesis but that there was no indication Jones was aware of this.

Jones, of Mellowes Park, Finglas, Dublin, pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of Paul McCormack at Tolka Valley Road, Finglas, on June 26, 2015. He has two minor previous convictions.

The court heard Jones told gardai he was doing 70 to 80 kph in the area which had a speed limit of 50kph. After the collision Jones remained at the scene, accepted responsibility and called an ambulance.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned sentencing until October 20 to allow her consider the case. The maximum term of imprisonment for this offence is two years.

Garda Aidan McHugh told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that Paul McCormack and three of his friends were crossing the road towards Tolka Valley Park when they saw a car coming from the left which looked to be "ages away."

One of the group said he saw the car "rocking" over the ramps with the lights going up in the air and the car got so close that they had to run. He said the car was driving "flat out" and three of the group made it across the road but Paul changed direction and went back towards the other side of the road as he was closer to the kerb.

Injuries

The car swerved to the right, the direction Paul had gone, and there was a loud bang as the car hit him.

It carried him for a while and he was thrown into the air and hit the ground.

Paul was taken to the Mater hospital where he was pronounced dead due to catastrophic brain injuries.

The forensic collision examiner attended at the scene and inspected the vehicle. The car was in good condition apart from a fault in the ABS braking system which rendered it inoperable leaving the car with only conventional braking.

Counsel said Jones was a person of good character with no alcohol or drug issues.

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