A FAMILY waited for up to four hours at Cork University Hospital after being told that their mother was suffering with minor injuries while she was dead in the morgue in Waterford, her daughter has said.
At the Circuit Criminal Court in Waterford yesterday, musician Cyrille Bizien (18), of Landunvez in Britanny, France, was disqualified for three years from driving in Ireland and fined a total of €3,000 for the dangerous driving causing death of Sheila Daly at Kiely's Cross near Ardmore, on July 28.
A grandmother, Ms Daly, who hated travelling by car, was only recuperating from an accident where her arm was badly injured after "a year of hell". She was due to move into a home in Cobh, where she had grown up.
The devastated Daly family was in court yesterday for sentencing. Ms Daly (59), with an address at Annemount, Glounthane in Co Cork, died after Bizien drove across the road and into the car at a junction.
The musician pleaded guilty and was sentenced yesterday but will not serve any jail time as a result of the crash.
In a victim impact statement, Sharon Daly, a daughter of Sheila's, said: "On July 28, our family was torn apart forever. We were told our mother was involved in a car crash; we were repeatedly told our mother was okay, that she just has minor chest injuries.
"So we waited outside CUH for four hours and it was only when we phoned the guards in Dungarvan that we were told over the phone that our mother was dead in the morgue in Waterford. The image of my father and sister falling to their knees after being told our mother was dead will always haunt me and having to drive two hours to Waterford to identify her body is something I wouldn't wish on anyone…and the days between then and now, it hasn't gotten any easier."
Ms Daly said that her mother was buried in "a gorgeous two-piece purple and navy dress suit" that her family had bought for Sharon's upcoming wedding.
The Cork-born grandmother was a rear seat passenger in her brother Richard Daly's Volkswagen Polo when tragedy struck.
They were coming from the Dungarvan direction towards Youghal when Bizien, who had only recently qualified as a driver in France, "got mixed up" and crossed over the road into the oncoming traffic, Garda Sgt Clifford said yesterday.
Judge Pauline Codd said he "pulled straight across the road" causing the woman's death. Bizien has no previous convictions, the court heard.
She said that he was in the country for just one week and "seems to have been distracted". She told the family that "one cannot help but be moved" by a letter describing "a wonderful mother and a wonderful wife".