Cyclist paralysed by truck pleads with drivers to show patience

Victim says spinal cord injury shortens his life expectancy by up to 30 years

Vincent O’Driscoll described catastrophic and life-changing injuries after he was hit by the truck. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Vincent O’Driscoll described catastrophic and life-changing injuries after he was hit by the truck. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Fri, Jul 4, 2014, 15:36

A 31-year-old cyclist left paralysed after a truck carrying 42 tonnes of timber rolled over him has spoken of the traumatic impact of the accident as he urged drivers to show greater patience on the roads.

Vincent O’Driscoll told how he sometimes contemplates suicide after sustaining horrific injuries in the accident when he was run over by haulier Tim Walsh in Co Cork.

Walsh from Moneen, Glanworth, Co Cork had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious injury to Mr O’Driscoll on the main Cork-Macroom road on August 7th 2013.

Garda Patrick O’Leary told Cork Circuit Criminal Court how Mr O’Driscoll was cycling on the N22 two miles east of Macroom when Walsh knocked him off his bike as he overtook him on a hill.

Walsh was driving a truck and trailer carrying 42 tonnes of lumber and witnesses said that the rear wheels of the trailer rolled over Mr O’Driscoll after he was knocked off his bike.

Mr O’Driscoll was rushed to Cork University Hospital and initially, he was not expected to survive the crash but he did and he was now in court and had prepared a victim impact statement.

Garda O’Leary then read from Mr O’Driscoll’s victim impact statement as Mr O’Driscoll listened from his wheelchair, flanked by relatives and friends.

Mr O’Driscoll catalogued the life-threatening injuries that he suffered including a severed spinal cord, fractured pelvis, two broken hips, two broken legs and two broken ankles.

He also suffered liver failure, kidney failure, bowel damage and bladder damage as well as a minor head injury and a minor shoulder injury in the accident, the court heard.

He spent a month in an induced coma in the intensive care unit at Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght and then three months more in ICU there after regaining consciousness.

He was transferred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire in February 2014 but his rehabilitation was hampered when a skin graft broke open.

“I still struggle with fairly severe pain especially in my feet. I can’t sit out of the bed that long - I might last two to three hours in the wheelchair before I have to lie down on the bed.”

Mr O’Driscoll said that he is on very strong painkillers but they don’t seem to having any positive effect on him anymore and when the pain gets bad he has to lie down.

He told how he has wear a colostomy bag due to the damage to his bowel and a catheter due to damage to his bladder and he doesn’t know if he’s going to have to wear those for life.