An R driver who left a woman with life-threatening injuries when he caused a head-on collision has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Raigavon Crown Court heard today that given the black Seat Leon being driven by Michael McGrath, 21, the woman injured in the crash can recall saying just before the impact knocked, ‘What are you doing on my side of the street, you idiot!” she cried out, passing out leaving multiple life-changing fractures in her wake.
McGrath, of Castlevennon Road in Katesbridge, had pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to the victim by driving dangerously on Magheraconluce Road in Hillsborough on January 7, 2020.
Prosecutor Ian Tannahill explained that at around 8.40am that morning McGrath had passed two other cars on the narrow country lane and was still on the wrong side of the road when he rounded a bend and plowed into the front of the victim’s car.
She suffered “multiple fractures”, mostly on the left side of her body, including two broken spines, multiple broken legs, a fracture to her forearm and her foot and toe, three of which required reconstruction.
Immediately thereafter, she underwent nearly nine hours of spinal surgery and spent three months in the hospital before being released to a convalescent home. When she finally got home, she was in a wheelchair.
The lady has since taken to using a crutch but, having been physically and socially active, has reportedly stopped going out as much since the accident, can only walk for short periods, walks with a limp and is embarrassed to socialize.
Defense attorney Michael Tierney said McGrath, who only passed his test six months earlier, was “deeply ashamed of his actions which weighed heavily on him” and has written a letter of apology to the lady he bumped into.
However, as Judge Lynch revealed, within weeks of the accident, which left a woman in intensive care and “written off two cars”, McGrath was again caught speeding and has since been convicted of dangerous driving by taking a car in the hard shoulder . “a willful act” on his part.
“If that was me, I would have been crawling around at 25,” the judge told Mr Tierney, “it doesn’t seem to me to be filled with regret.”
Judge Lynch recounted the litany of injuries and their aftermath, telling McGrath that “your victim in this case will continue to suffer the consequences of your actions on that particular day,” regardless of the verdict.
“You learned no lesson from inflicting those serious injuries on that lady in that horrible accident,” the judge stated, though he said he accepted McGrath’s lack of driving experience was a mitigating factor.
“Clearly the limit of detention has been exceeded,” he concluded, ordering McGrath to serve half of the 15-month sentence and the other half on license.
McGrath was also banned from driving for two years.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/courts/r-driver-21-who-left-woman-with-life-changing-injuries-after-hillsborough-crash-handed-jail-sentence-42075952.html R driver (21) who left woman with life-changing injuries after Hillsborough crash handed jail sentence