Baby suffered brain injury in scrambler bike incident, court hears

Judge requests probation report before sentencing Gary Foy over collision in public park

A young man crashed a borrowed scrambler bike into a stationary quad bike on which a mother and baby were sitting in a park, causing the infant serious injuries, a court has heard.

Gary Foy (21) jumped a ridge on the scrambler and collided with the quad.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that a medical professional who treated the child said he was the most seriously injured two-year-old he had cared for who managed to survive.

The prosecuting garda said no vehicles of any kind were permitted in the green area of the park.

Foy, of Beech Grove, Johnstown Wood, Navan, Co Meath, pleaded guilty to careless driving causing serious bodily harm at a west Dublin park, on September 17th, 2020.

He further pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and driving while under the influence of an intoxicant after cannabis was found in his system. Foy has no previous convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the case to October to allow a probation report to be prepared.

Sgt Aidan Shaughnessy told Rónán Prendergast BL, prosecuting, that gardaí became aware that a child had suffered serious injuries after a scrambler collision and attended at the scene.

The child was being taken to hospital and Foy was lying on the ground a short distance from a slope when they arrived. There was a quad bike there but the scrambler was gone.

Could not remember

Foy, who was wearing a helmet, spoke to gardaí and told them he could not remember what happened. He was brought to hospital and became upset when asking after the child.

He told gardaí he was riding a scrambler and then woke up on the ground. He said someone told him he had hit someone on a quad. He did not know where the bike he was riding had gone.

The infant’s mother said she had been sitting on the stationary quad with her son, who had a helmet on, as she was chatting to others before a scrambler came over the hill. She said it came towards them and she tried to grab the baby but did not remember much else.

Foy, who was 19 at the time, was interviewed and said he was familiar with the park and had been riding a bike for 10 years. He said there was a “set route” with a jump over a ridge. He said he had gone over that route hundreds or thousands of times and considered himself a good driver.

He told gardaí that you could not see what was on the other side of the ridge but “everyone knows” there were bikes coming over it.

He said he had asked for a go on someone else’s bike and went for a jump. He said he had been going 20-25 km/h. Garda Shaughnessy told Judge Greally that it was a public park and no quads or scramblers should have been in the area.

Brain injury

The court heard the child was seriously injured and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He has been doing well since his discharge but will require follow up rehabilitative services. There was no victim impact statement.

Garda Shaughnessy agreed with David Staunton BL, defending, that Foy had never come to Garda attention for any matters or activities, had an “excellent attitude” and was remorseful.

Mr Staunton said there was an unusual backdrop to the case. He should this should never have been remotely able to happen in a public park but a “de facto situation” had arisen where people were using scramblers on a constant basis.

He said Foy, as a young person, may have been engaged in the activity under the assumption that it was allowed or permissible which was not the case.

Mr Staunton asked the court to take into account letters from a youth workers outlining Foy’s engagement with relevant services, as well as his deep regret and remorse for the incident and his intention to do everything he could to make amends.