Tractor driver said he did not see pedestrian


A farmer admitted to gardaí that he did not see a German tourist before his tractor ran over her on a pedestrian crossing at Bunratty, Co Clare.

A jury at Ennis Circuit Court heard yesterday that John Boyce (57), Moyhill, Cratloe, Co Clare, “had a blinkered view” of what lay ahead of him at the pedestrian crossing.

In evidence, public service vehicle inspector Maurice Nolan said that a front-loader attached to Mr Boyce’s 1980-registered Massey Ferguson tractor, as well as the windscreen wiper not working, would have obstructed Mr Boyce’s view right and left of his tractor. The trial has heard that it was raining at the time.

Mr Boyce has pleaded not guilty to the dangerous driving causing the death of Inge Schmidt (76) at Low Road, Bunratty, on October 29th, 2010.

In an interview with gardaí read out in court yesterday, Mr Boyce said: “I saw everyone else. I didn’t see the woman,” as he approached the pedestrian crossing.

When a garda put it to him he did not see the woman because his wipers were not working while the front loader created multiple blind spots, Mr Boyce said: “I don’t accept that.” Asked why he did not stop, he said: “I believed it was safe to cross as I was being as cautious as I possibly could be.” Mr Boyce also said the pedestrian crossing was clear when he drove through it.

The jury, before Judge Gerald Keyes, is due to retire today.