Drunk driver was speeding when he crashed into pedestrian who later died
Court heard driver, who had no experience of driving and no driving licence, fled scene after crash
Rene Miko of Place de Plouzane, Kilrush, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to drink driving and dangerous driving causing death at at Ennis Circuit Court.
A motorist was three times over the drink drive limit when he drove at 120km/h in a built up area of Ennis before he struck a pedestrian on a footpath at a roundabout who later died from his injuries, a court has heard.
Slovakian national, Rene Miko of Place de Plouzane, Kilrush, Co Clare, was before Ennis Circuit Court on Friday where he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of GAA coach, Eugene McNamara (42) on the night of October 26th 2016. He also pleaded guilty to drink driving having had a blood alcohol reading of 170 mg of alcohol in his system when the legal limit is 50mg.
Mr McNamara was walking on the footpath on his way home after watching a soccer match on TV at his brother’s house when he was knocked down.
CCTV footage shown in court captured the speed of Mr Miko’s BMW and Mr McNamara walking along the footpath opposite McDonalds in Ennis before the fatal impact. The speed limit in the area was 50km/h.
The footage showed Garda Michael O’Connor of Roxboro Rd Garda Station, Limerick, who was off duty at the time, doing a u-turn on the Gort Road leading into the roundabout to pursue the defendant’s car after he saw it speeding.
Garda O’Connor, in a statement, noted that before the defendant’s car struck Mr McNamara, it first hit another car causing it to become airborne.
The garda investigation found the defendant’s car made no effort to reduce its 120km/h speed before coming into the roundabout.
Judge Gerald Keys told the defendant he is facing jail but has allowed him remain on bail pending sentencing on March 25th.
In a victim impact statement Stephen McNamara, a double All-Ireland winner with the Clare hurlers from the 1990s and a brother of Eugene, said the victim “was cruelly knocked down by a speeding car and was left to suffer alone by the side of the road. It is a picture that haunts all of his family and remains with us”.
Meanwhile CCTV footage showed the defendant and his passenger get out of their car and flee the scene. They ran across the nearby Fairgreen park to New Rd at Rice College before they were apprehended by Garda O’Connor at Marian Avenue.
Mr McNamara died a number of days later from his injuries. Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster found he died from severe traumatic brain injury as a result of blunt force trauma in a road traffic collision.
In his first garda interview, the defendant maintained his right to silence. It was only after gardaí retrieved forensic evidence showing Mr Miko’s DNA from the air bag on the driver’s side of the vehicle that he said: “I am maybe 30 per cent to 40 per cent responsible but I can’t be 100 per cent responsible because I don’t think I was the driver.”
Counsel for the State Lorcan Connolly BL said Mr Miko said he didn’t have a recollection of the incident.
Mark Nicholas SC, defending, said Mr Miko “had no experience of driving, had no driving licence, had no car and had no history of driving and no ambition to drive in any way”.
He said that his client pleaded guilty but couldn’t at first admit to driving as he didn’t remember what happened. He added that his client’s driving on the night caused catastrophic consequences and he apologised.He had no previous convictions.
Mr McNamara said his parents never have a night where they are able to sleep without waking and thinking of what happened Eugene on his walk home that night.