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Driver in crash that killed three is jailed

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Jason Rowntree

Jason Rowntree

Jason Rowntree

A 32-year-old man has been jailed for six years for dangerous driving that caused the deaths of three women on their way home from a summer holiday.

The court heard how Jason Rowntree, of Plantation House, Kingscourt, Co Louth, collided head on with a Toyota Auris on July 21, killing all the occupants.

Margaret McGonigle (69), of Bruckless, Co Donegal, along with her daughter, Mairead O'Neill Mundy (37), and their neighbour Rachel Battles (39) died as a result of the accident at Aclint Bridge, Ardee, Co Louth, on July 21, 2017.

Holiday

They were travelling home from Dublin Airport at around 12.30am after a family holiday in Turkey.

The accused had drunk between three and five pints of Guinness in a pub before the accident.

Rowntree, who had no recollection of the accident, was seriously injured.

He pleaded guilty to the dangerous driving charge before Christmas at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court, and yesterday Judge Patrick Quinn handed down sentence.

He sentenced Rowntree to six years with the final two years suspended on conditions that include the accused attending alcohol awareness and counselling programmes

The judge said the accused crossed a continuous white line on to the opposite side of the road and collided with the Toyota Auris.

The judge, however, remarked that he could not ignore the statement of a lorry driver who told gardai a Black Volkswagen Passat pulled out in front of him from a side road and then pulled up on to the hard shoulder.

The judge said it was not a case of a momentary lack of attention, while accepting the accused did not intend the damage that he caused.

Rowntree had accepted responsibility for the accident and had a clear record.

The judge accepted his remorse was genuine.


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