Bereft family sues employer after asleep at wheel fatality

Loved one should not have been allowed drive from Sligo to Dublin after shift, say family

The family of a young man who died in a road collision that happened as he drove back to Dublin in the early hours after working in Sligo has sued his employer for nervous shock.

It is claimed 19-year old Bijan Melrose must have fallen asleep at the wheel as he travelled back to Dublin after operating a photo booth and taking pictures at an event for his employer Shoot Booths Ltd.

Gerald Tynan SC, for the family, told the High Court the Garda evidence will be that there was no explanation for the crash other than that the student and part-time worker must have fallen asleep.

It was the family’s case that Mr Melrose should not have been allowed to drive the van back from Sligo to Dublin, he said.


Ian and Masoumeh Melrose, and the deceased’s three sisters, Nielufar, Raanah and Sorayya, all of Lower Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan, Dublin, have each sued Shoot Booths Ltd, with offices at Mine Hill Business Centre, Ballycorus, Dublin, as a result of the crash which happened about 2am on October 18th, 2014, at Newtownforbes, Co Longford.

Mr Melrose had driven to Sligo earlier in the day and had worked at a function where he operated a photo booth.

At about midnight, he began the journey back to Dublin.

It is claimed Mr Melrose was required to work an excessively long shift which included a long drive in the dark at its conclusion.

It is also claimed he was required to drive back to Dublin from Sligo when it was inappropriate and dangerous to do so.

There was, it is further claimed, failure to provide him with accommodation so he could rest before returning on the long night drive and failure to allow Mr Melrose sufficient rest before requiring him to undertake a night-time drive in excess of three hours.

Claims denied

The claims are denied and it is also pleaded there was contributory negligence on the part of Mr Melrose.

Opening the case, Mr Tynan said the van Mr Melrose was driving left the road, smashed into several trees and came back across the road.

Another motorist who had been overtaken by Mr Melrose earlier had reported there was no speed involved on Mr Melrose’s part.

The family’s case was that Mr Melrose should not have been allowed drive the vehicle back to Dublin, he said.

The family are devastated and heartbroken by Mr Melrose’s death and have suffered appalling nervous shock, said counsel.

“They got a knock on the door at 4am to say this young man had been killed. It was horrific; they have suffered tremendously. It will never be over for them,” he said.

The case continues before Mr Justice Kevin Cross on Wednesday.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times