Man convicted of causing crash by running red light

Galway Daily courts

A young man who caused a serious crash after running a red light was fined and disqualified from driving this week.

Joshua Shiel (25), of Dun an Oir, Loughrea was convicted of dangerous driving at Galway District Court for a late night crash on Bothar na dTreabh back on August 22 of last year.

The crash happened at 11:15pm that night at the Briarhill junction on the N6 Bothar na dTreabh.

The injured party, Stephanie Bell, was coming from the direction of Carnmore when she said she stopped at the lights at the Briarhill junction, waiting to go onto the Monivea Road.

When the light turned green for her, she said that she moved ahead, and only briefly saw something on her right before there was a huge bang that sent her car spinning round.

Her Toyota Yarris was spun completely around by the crash, and left facing back towards Carnmore, while Shiel’s went partially up onto the traffic island in the middle of the road.

After the crash, someone came over to her car and opened the driver side door with difficulty. She told the court that he just said to her “that was your fault”, and walked away.

Joshua Shiel gave evidence that the light turned green as he was approaching the junction. He said that he saw a car pulling out from another side, and tried to swerve to avoid it, but was only partially successful.

Ms Bell was the sole occupant of her car, and there were three other passengers in the other car, one of whom had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.

He said that he had come into Galway to pick up his girlfriend and her friends after he finished work in Ballinasloe that evening.

He said that he did go over to the injured party’s car after the crash to see if she was okay, and then after went back to his car as his girlfriend was unconscious.

He claimed that he told the injured party that she ran the light after she said that she didn’t know what had happened.

An independent witness told the court that he was waiting at a red light on the junction when a Volkswagen Golf came up from behind him in the next lane and drove through the red light, striking another car in its driver side front wing.

This was disputed by the defendant, who said that he was in the right hand lane to go straight ahead towards the motorway roundabout, the same lane the witness said that he was in.

The man who saw the crash said that he helped the injured party out of her car afterwards, and got her phone so she call gardaí, and then waited for them with her.

Inspector Finbarr Philpott said in cross-examination that none of the other people in his car said that the lights were green in their statements.

Another witness was coming from the direction of the Clayton Hotel after finishing work, but he said that he didn’t see the crash happen, only the aftermath.

Garda James Traynor told the court that he was called to the scene of a collision at around 11:30pm. He spoke with the two drivers and witnesses present.

The drivers of both cars showed no signs of intoxication and passed roadside breath tests he said. The driver of the Toyota Yarris was “visibly shocked and shaken” he said.

Judge Mary Fahy said that there was a “total conflict of evidence” from the two sides, but that she had to consider that there was an independent witness.

She also noted the force of the impact, which left the victims car “spun round” on the road, and that there was “obviously an ingredient of speed” in the collision.

Judge Fahy convicted Shiel and fined him €500 for dangerous driving. He was also disqualified from driving for two years, and ordered to pay witness expenses.

Leave was granted by the court to appeal the verdict.