herald

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Dangerous driver who caused death of woman (92) gets 14 months' jail

Maureen Creaner was killed
Maureen Creaner was killed

A man whose dangerous driving due to inattention and tiredness caused the death of an elderly woman has been jailed for 14 months.

James Dingle (42) struck Maureen Creaner (92) with his 4x4 as she crossed the road to buy a paper at 8.15am, causing "catastrophic injuries" which led to her death.

A garda at the scene noticed a smell of intoxicating liquor from Dingle and a test found him to be "barely" over the drink-driving limit. He told gardai he had taken alcohol while socialising the night before.

Dingle had had a row with his partner the previous night and was driving to her house at the time of the crash.

Garda experts concluded that Dingle had been driving at 64kph in a 50kph zone.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Dingle's phone activity was analysed and his usage in the early hours of the morning showed there was a "severe lack of sleep" on his part.

The prosecution told the court it could not be said definitively that Dingle was on the phone at the time of the accident but that he was using the phone "very close" to the time of the incident.

Dingle, of Drumcliffe Road, Cabra, Dublin, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Ms Creaner at Navan Road, Cabra, on September 4, 2016.

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David Creaner, Maureen's son, paid tribute to her in the family's victim impact statement.

He said Ms Creaner had been a loving mother who provided "a loving, friendly and safe home", which was always open to family and friends.

He said his mother had lived through interesting times and had "92 years of stories", which they had just started recording the week prior to her death.

He said they missed her for lots of reasons, including her good advice and inspiring attitude to life.

He said they wished to thank the emergency services and nurses at the Mater hospital who were with their mother in the moments before she died when they could not be there.

Mr Creaner said it was the family's hope that as the lengthy legal process reaches a close, they could "begin to remember Maureen not as a victim but as our wonderful mother".

Judge Martin Nolan said it seemed Dingle did not see Ms Creaner, or at least not see her in time.

The judge said Dingle knew he had taken drink the night before, knew he was tired and drove at a certain speed.

"These are things he had control over, made decisions about and must take responsibility for," said Judge Nolan.

"His inattention was contributed to by these factors."

He noted in mitigation that Dingle had remained at the scene, co-operated with gardai and made full admissions.

He said testimonials handed into court on Dingle's behalf were impressive and it must be taken into account that he was a productive man.

Judge Nolan imposed 14 months' imprisonment and disqualified Dingle from driving for four years.

He also extended his condolences to the Creaner family.

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