herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Driver's 83 phone calls before killing this woman

A driver who crashed into a rented car, killing an American tourist, had made 83 mobile phone calls before the fatal accident, an inquest has heard.

Declan Gallagher, was barefoot and allegedly made over 80 calls while driving between Maynooth and the scene of the crash in Mayo.

Annette Jean Scott (51) from Wyoming, was pronounced dead at the scene at Ballymiles, Swinford, on the evening of May 29, 2009.

Both women, who worked for Aspen Travel, based in Jackson, were holidaying in Ireland when their hired car was struck by an SUV driven by Mr Gallagher of The Green, Moyglore, Maynooth, Co Kildare.

EVIDENCE

A third car was also involved in the accident which occurred on the N5 main Dublin to Westport road but the occupants were not seriously injured.

A number of witnesses gave evidence that Mr Gallagher wasn't wearing any socks or shoes when he stepped from his jeep after the impact.

Sgt Richard Taheny said records showed that Mr Gallagher had made 83 calls between Maynooth and the accident scene. The records suggested that at the time of the impact or very close to it Gallagher had been using the handheld mobile.

The jeep driver denied to gardai he was using the phone at the time of the accident. He said he could only recall talking to his five-year-old son who was with him and his jeep veering across the road.

There was no way Ms Scott could have avoided a collision coroner John O'Dwyer was told.

Declan Gallagher had pleaded guilty at the Circuit Criminal Court last July to dangerous driving causing death.

He received a three-year prison sentence, suspended for three years.

He was banned from driving for ten years.

Medical evidence was given yesterday that Ms Scott died as a result of multiple soft tissue and skeletal injuries due a road traffic accident. A jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

hnews@herald.ie

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