Driver who caused woman’s death on M50 gets suspended sentence

Martina Loughlin died after being struck by truck after car broke down on motorway

“Our hearts froze in November 2015 and we fear they may never thaw,” her family said.

“Our hearts froze in November 2015 and we fear they may never thaw,” her family said.

 

A truck driver who crashed into a broken down car on the M50 causing the death of its driver has received a fully-suspended sentence.

Barry Grogan (38) of Thornville Ave, Kilbarrack, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to careless driving causing the death of Martina Loughlin near the M50 Lucan junction on November 11, 2015.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Grogan to one year’s imprisonment but suspended the entirety of the sentence for a year providing he keep the peace and be of good behaviour. He also suspended Grogan from driving for four years, starting on March 18th this year.

Sergeant Pádraig Jennings told Paul Murray SC, prosecuting, that just before 5am on the morning in question, Ms Loughlin was driving to her job in UCD when her car broke down and halted on the M50 near the Lucan junction.

She sat in her car for approximately 17 minutes prior to the collision, attempting to contact her insurance company while vehicles navigated around her. Witnesses reported being able to see the car’s hazard warning lights, despite the torrential rain.

Grogan was driving a Volvo lorry which struck Ms Loughlin’s car and propelled it 60 meters forwards down the road. A second vehicle drove into Ms Loughlin’s car approximately seven seconds after the first collision. The driver of this truck does not face prosecution.

Ms Loughlin was taken from the scene and pronounced dead on November 14th, 2015 as a result of numerous injuries caused by the collision.

In a voluntary statement given to gardaí a month after accident, Grogan said he did not see the hazard warning lights before the collision. He said the collision had changed his life forever and he “really wished” it had never happened.

In a victim impact statement which was read out in court, Ms Loughlin’s partner and extended family described the “devastating loss” they had suffered and said that Ms Loughlin had been “the link who kept us all together”.

Hearts froze

“Our hearts froze in November 2015 and we fear they may never thaw,” they revealed.

Sgt Jennings agreed with John D Fitzgerald SC, defending, that the collision had been caused by inattention. He accepted that one would not expect to meet a car stopped along the M50.

Mr Fitzgerald extended an apology on behalf of his client to the Loughlin family and remarked that Grogan was “visibly upset in court”.

He said that Grogan will lose his employment as a result of the disqualification from driving and said that all he had “ever wanted to do was to drive”. Grogan is married with two children and has no previous convictions.

In considering the sentence, Judge Nolan said he took into account Grogan’s plea of guilty, his co-operation, his making a voluntary statement, his lack of previous convictions, his good work history, the fact that he will lose his job as a result of the disqualification and his obvious remorse.

He remarked that he did not think “there is a person in this court who hasn’t been inattentive” and said that he himself had been guilty of inattention while driving.