Teenager (17) pleads guilty to dangerous driving causing death of girl (16)

Deceased was a front seat passenger in car that crashed outside her house in Cork city

The teenager pleaded guilty to driving the car without insurance and driving the car without a driving licence on the night in question. Photograph: iStock

The teenager pleaded guilty to driving the car without insurance and driving the car without a driving licence on the night in question. Photograph: iStock

 

A teenager has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of a 16-year-old girl who was killed when the car in which she was a front passenger crashed just yards from her home in Cork.

The boy (17) who cannot be named because he is a juvenile, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of the girl and serious injury to an 18-year-old boy in February last year.

The girl cannot be named as a result of a recent Court of Appeal ruling .

Today, the 17-year-old boy admitted the dangerous driving causing death and serious injury charge as well as failing to give appropriate information about the incident and failing to report the incident to gardaí.

He also pleaded guilty to driving the car without insurance and driving the car without a driving licence on the night in question when he crashed the car just outside the girl’s home.

Det Garda Brian Holland told how the emergency services received a call at 11.45pm on the night in question alerting them to the single-vehicle collision in a residential area of Cork city.

When they arrived at the scene, they found the 16-year-old girl fatally injured in the front seat of the badly damaged car and she was pronounced dead at the scene by a local doctor.

Her body was removed to Cork University Hospital where the following day, Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster carried out a postmortem to establish the exact cause of death.

Dr Bolster established that the girl died from traumatic upper cervical spinal cord injury with traumatic cerebral subarachnoid haemorrhage due to a road traffic collision.

Meanwhile the 18-year-old rear seat passenger had suffered serious injuries and he was removed from the car after firefighters cut off the roof and he was rushed to CUH to undergo surgery.

The 18-year-old had suffered a fracture of the skull and bruising to his brain, an injury to his temporal lobe as well as multiple fractures to bones in his face, said Det Garda Holland.

He ended up spending six days in the Intensive Care Unit at CUH before being finally discharged from hospital on March 13th and his recovery has been slow even though he is making progress.

He has regained the use of his limbs but he is working with a speech and language therapist. He also suffers from post traumatic amnesia and he has no recollection of the collision.

Fled the scene

Det Garda Holland said the driver of the car fled the scene but they later identified the now 17-year-old as the driver and he was arrested and questioned about the fatal collision.

The teenager had bought the car on DoneDeal on February 16th but after the fatal collision, he changed the name of the seller, the car registration and the car type on the ad.

Det Garda Holland said that a forensic crash investigator had examined the scene of the collision and obtained CCTV footage from a nearby premises which allowed him to calculate the driver’s speed.

He said that the driver was travelling at a minimum of 119km/h along a road which was governed by a 50km/h speed limit and he had shot through a roundabout before crashing.

He had hit the kerb, a tree and a utility box before he then hit a metal bollard which ended up 45 metres away, while the cap on the bollard was catapulted through the upstairs window of a house.

The rear passenger door hit a concrete wall and the car spun around with the front passenger’s door colliding with a gate pillar, killing the girl, who was less than 50 metres from her home at the time.

Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin examined photographs of the car taken at the scene and said that it looked as though it had been blown up by a bomb, so extensive was the damage to the vehicle.

The girl’s sister delivered a Victim Impact Statement on behalf of her mother in which she told how their lives were changed forever by the death of her daughter in the crash outside their house.

“I was waiting for my daughter to come home and I jumped with horror from the bang outside my door – with severe fright, we ran to the front door to discover the fatal car crash,” she said.

“I rang my daughter’s phone to see where she was – her phone at this stage was ringing out – little did I realise at that point that my child lying dead in the car that had crashed in front of our house.

“When we found out it was my child dead in the car, my whole world came crashing in on top of me – from that point on I wanted to die – I will never be able to come to terms with my child’s death.”

The dead girl’s sister told how she will never be the same person after hearing the horrific crash and running out on to the street to see her sister dead in the car as the image continues to haunt her.

“Her death has changed me as a person mentally and I will never be able to accept it or get over it – I miss her so much and knowing I will not see her again until it is my day, kills me,” she said.

The dead girl’s other sister also spoke of the impact it had on her and she told how learning it was her sister who was killed in the car crash by their house turned her life upside down for ever.

“When she was identified as the girl in the car, my heart was crushed and up to today, it is crushing more and more – I just can’t figure out why my sister was chosen that night to be taken from us.”

Defence counsel Tom Creed SC said his client had pleaded guilty to the charges and spared the girl’s family the trauma of a trial and he was very remorseful for what happened as they were all friends.

He applied for an adjournment to allow for a probation report on his client whom the court heard had no previous convictions of any kind and Judge Ó Donnabháin granted the application.

He remanded the accused to Oberstown Children’s Detention Campus for a probation report and ordered him to appear again in court on March 3rd for sentence on the five charges.

Judge Ó Donnabháin explained to the girl’s mother that a recent decision by one of the superior courts meant that her daughter could not be named in any press coverage of the case.

However, he asked her to think about whether or not she believed naming her daughter would be in her daughter’s interest in which case he could make an order the next day allowing her to be named.