Court hears evidence suggesting neither driver nor passenger wore seatbelts in fatal crash near Scartaglin

Tralee Circuit Criminal Court has heard evidence suggesting neither the driver nor front seat passenger, involved in a fatal crash near Scartaglin, were wearing seatbelts at the time of impact.

Collision investigator, PSV inspector Garda Jim O’Brien gave his testimony in the trial of a woman charged with careless driving, causing the death of a 14-year-old, on June 15th, 2014.

Sarah O’Connell of 44 Seán Moylan Park, Mallow, Co Cork – who was 20 years at the time and whose one-year-old baby daughter Sophie was also a passenger in the car – denies the offence.

14-year-old Caitlin Taylor of 23 Slí na gCrann, Goulshill, Mallow, died in the single vehicle collision at Knockeenahone, Scartaglin, which occurred shortly after 11pm on June 15th, 2014.

Collision investigator, PSV inspector Garda Jim O’Brien told prosecuting barrister for the State Tom Rice the grey Toyota Yaris, driven by Ms O’Connell, left the road and ‘tumbled’ head to tail. The car lost its rear bumper and all glass in the vehicle was shattered. Front seat passenger Ms Taylor was thrown from the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Garda O’Brien said it was his contention, due to the positioning of the seat belts in the vehicle, that neither the driver nor front seat passenger were wearing seatbelts at the time of impact.

Garda O’Brien reiterated his findings to defence senior counsel Mark Nichols, instructed by solicitor Pádraig O’Connell. He said on a scale of 1 to ten, the likelihood of the non-wearing of seatbelts in this instance, in his view, was ’10’.
Judge Thomas O’Donnell is expected to give his charge to the jury this morning.