Ambulance driver acquitted of dangerous driving causing death

Two days after ambulance crash in Galway, woman (92) died

Ambulance driver Grzegorz Kolek (34) had pleaded not guilty  to dangerous driving on November 8th, 2012.

Ambulance driver Grzegorz Kolek (34) had pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving on November 8th, 2012.

 

A jury took just over two hours today to acquit a ambulance driver of a charge of dangerous driving causing death.

Polish national, Grzegorz Kolek (34), of Rahylin Glebe, Ballybane, Galway, had pleaded not guilty during a two-day trial to dangerous driving on November 8th, 2012, which caused the death of a 92-year-old woman two days later.

Prosecuting barrister, Conor Fahy, told the jury at Galway Circuit Court, an ambulance driven by the accused mounted a kerb and travelled for 21.5 metres along a ditch before hitting a speed sign, and then a telegraph pole before turning over on its side.

The accident, he said, occurred on a straight stretch of road near Ballindooley on the Headford Road, a mile from Galway city at 11.30am.

Bridget Kelly (92), a widow and long-term patient in a Co Mayo nursing home, was strapped onto a stretcher in the back of the ambulance at the time.

She died two days later from a heart attack due to complications arising from a brain haemorrhage she sustained in the collision and from other underlying conditions.

Mr Kolek told gardaí a fox ran out from the ditch on his left and he veered to the left and braked mildly.

The ambulance, he said, suddenly veered to the left, mounted the kerb and turned over after hitting the pole.

Gardaí checked Mr Kolek’s phone and found he had not been using it at the time. The ambulance was also examined by Garda Tony McHugh following the accident and found to be in perfect working order.

Mr Conal McCarthy, defending, said this had been a simple accident, something that could have happened to anyone in a split second while driving.

“There, but for the grace of God, could go any of us,” he told the jury.

In his charge to the jury of five women and seven men, Judge Rory McCabe said it was accepted by the prosecution that there had been no speed, no drink and no use of a phone involved.

He asked the jury to consider a lesser charge of careless driving, otherwise known as driving without due care and attention, but following two hours and five minutes of deliberations this afternoon, the jury returned a unanimous verdict finding Mr Kolek not guilty of the more substantive charge before the court.