Three-year-old girl fatally injured after truck driver’s ‘bad move’, court told
Vincent Wall was driving his daughter Estlin to creche when crash occurred
Estlin Wall with her parents Amy and Vincent
A three-year-old girl was fatally injured in a road crash moments after a truck driver made “a bad move” to pull out from behind a bus, a court has heard.
At around 9am on March 15th, 2017, Vincent Wall (41) was driving his daughter Estlin to creche in Inagh from their home in Ennistymon, north Clare.
At Ennis Circuit Court on Wednesday, counsel for the State, Shane Costelloe SC stated that once Mr Wall saw the truck – travelling in the opposite direction – perform the manoeuvre, Mr Wall’s car mounted a grass verge.
Mr Costelloe stated that when Mr Wall tried to move his car back onto the road from the grass verge, he lost control and it spun around causing the car to collide with an oncoming Skoda car that was two cars behind the truck driven by Senan O’Flaherty in the line of traffic behind the bus.
Mr Costelloe said that Mr O’Flaherty and the Cliffs of Moher bound bus driver ahead of him continued on their journey not realising that a crash had just occurred.
Mr Costelloe stated that Estlin sustained a traumatic brain injury and a broken back from the crash and that her brain injury was so significant that the prospect of surviving was negligible.
Mr Costelloe stated that Estlin was two weeks short of her fourth birthday when the road crash occurred.
Mr Costelloe stated that Estlin’s mother, Amy made the decision to donate Estlin’s organs before her life-support machine was switched off a number of days later at Temple Street Children’s Hospital. Her organ donation had saved the life of two others.
Mr Costelloe said that Vincent Wall suffered a severe and significant brain injury as a result of the crash.
Mr Costelloe stated: “Although Vincent has made some progress through the auspices of the National Rehabilitation Hospital he still continues to suffer significant adverse consequences as a result of the brain injury.”
Mr Wall has no recollection of the accident. He was placed in an induced coma after the crash and missed Estlin’s funeral.
Both Amy and Vincent Wall were in court on Wednesday for the sentencing hearing and Mr Costelloe said that the two will provide victim impact statements at a later court date.
In the case, Senan O’Flaherty (62) of Lower Gowerhass, Cooraclare has pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention causing the death of Estlin Luna Wall and serious bodily harm to Vincent Wall at Ballyea South, Inagh on March 15th, 2017.
Mr Costelloe stated that the driver of the Skoda, Morgan Lahiffe told gardaí that it was “a bad move” by Mr O’Flaherty to pull out from behind the bus.
Mr Costelloe stated that there was a consistency in the State’s evidence that all of the motorists behind the truck were all of the view that when they saw the truck move, they believed Mr O’Flaherty was going to perform an overtaking manoeuvre of the bus or at the very least was moving out over the white line with a view to seeing the oncoming traffic.
Mr Costelloe stated that in a Garda interview, Mr O’Flaherty “absolutely denied that he pulled out to perform an overtaking manevoure”.
Mr Costelloe stated that Mr Wall was driving within the speed limit when driving onto the grass verge.
The State counsel stated that remarkably the injured Mr Lahiffe at the scene was able to go to the Wall vehicle and try to provide assistance in getting Estlin out of the car after the crash occurred.
Mr Costelloe said that a medical doctor, Dr John Duncan was almost immediately at the scene. Dr Duncan initially felt a weak pulse for Estlin but after a moment couldn’t find a pulse and performed CPR on her.
Judge Gerald Keys adjourned the case to December 9th for mention to fix a date next year when the victim impact evidence will be heard. Judge Keys remanded Mr O’Flaherty on continuing bail.