Prison sentence for hit and run that killed teenager

Conor Hickey (14) died after he was struck by an addict on his way to buy drugs

Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 00:46

A Meath drug addict who was on his way to buy drugs when he fatally injured a 14-year-old boy in a hit and run has received a 20 month prison sentence.

When gardaí arrested Ruadhan Tracey (33) two months after the incident he told them he knew it was because he had knocked the boy down, saying: “Conor Hickey, I will never forget that name”.

Tracey has 36 previous convictions. Last July Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed a ten year jail term, with two years suspended for a spate of armed robberies including one in which he left a shop worker in need of 24-hour care after stabbing him with a syringe.

These offences were carried out after the hit and run. The twenty month term will run alongside the ten year sentence meaning he will serve no extra time in prison.

The maximum penalty available to the court for careless driving causing death is two years and the maximum penalty for leaving the scene of an accident is six months.

Tracey of Lagore Green, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to careless driving causing the death of Conor Hickey at Fassaugh Road, Cabra, Dublin on December 2, 2011. He also admitted a charge of failing to remain at the scene of that accident.

Judge Ring said she was bound by the legislation and that she must also give credit to Tracey for entering a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity and his genuine remorse expressed at a very early stage.

She said: “He has to live with the consequences of being a man who drove a vehicle which killed a boy. He wasn’t even man enough to stay or present himself.”

She imposed concurrent sentences of four months for the hit and run offence and 20 months for the careless driving causing death.

Tracey told gardaí after his arrest that he felt numb since he learned on the news that the boy died. He claimed the lights were green and said: “I took my eye off the road for one second and then bang. I saw a shadow. I didn’t think it was a person”.

He told them he looked back and saw the commotion on the road but didn’t stop because he had no insurance and no tax on the car.

He said he panicked and went on to collect the drugs he had set out to collect in the city. He said he “got f**ked up” but was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he hit the boy.

John Hickey, the victim’s father, said his son’s death has hit the family like a tsunami and has left a trail of destruction.

Reading from a victim impact report from the family he said: “Before December 2011 life for my family was very different and as close to perfect as you could get. Conor was in 2nd year preparing for his Junior Certificate.

“It’s impossible to describe the effects a tragedy like this does to a family. It’s like a tsunami that hits a family. It takes everything away in a flash.