A WOMAN who suffered a fractured foot following a two-car collision on the N59 near Ballycroy had to be rescued from the car after it went ‘up in flames’.
Nicole Healy of Gortbrack, Pollathomas was involved in the head-on-collision with another car on May 1, 2017, which resulted in both cars ending up in the drain along the N59 at Tarsaughan, Ballycroy.
Ms Healy appeared at last week’s sitting of Belmullet District Court where she was charged with dangerous driving but the offence was later reduced to careless driving.
Following the collision, her car went on fire and in what was described as ‘a horrifying experience’ for her, she had to be rescued by a man who happened to be in the area fencing land.
Inspector Mandy Gaynor explained that the incident occurred at 4.35pm when a car driven by Ms Healy and another car driven by Mary Vesey were going in opposite directions. There were no independent witnesses to the accident but Ms Vesey claimed that Ms Healy’s car came on her side of the road and the collision occurred.
Ms Healy said she believed she was on her correct side of the road but could not remember the incident. A Garda investigation of the accident found that the collision occurred on Ms Vesey’s side of the road.
The cars were badly damaged and both drivers suffered injuries as a result. Insp Gaynor said Ms Vesey passed a road-side breath test but due to Ms Healy’s injuries, she was brought to hospital and gardaí were unable to conduct a test on her.
Mr Michael Bohan, solicitor for Ms Healy, said his instructions were that she had not been drinking and before this accident she had an unblemished driving record. He explained that Ms Healy was returning home from Westport when the accident occurred and had no rational explanation for why it occurred.
Ms Bohan said the whole episode had been very frightening for his client and she was sorry for what happened and had pleaded early to the charge. He added that Ms Healy works in Ballina and travels to work from her home in Pollathomas, which is an 80 mile round journey. He said the loss of her licence would have implications for her employment.
Judge Deirdre Gearty described the accident as ‘very serious’ but stated she was happy to reduce the charge to careless driving and imposed a €250 fine.