A 20 year old man who admitted to careless driving arising from a road traffic collision in which a man died has been told he owes a debt of gratitude to the family of the deceased.
James Houlihan Rylands, Ballyingarry, Co Limerick pleaded guilty to two counts of careless driving following the crash at Leamnaguilla, Ballyhar on May 4th 2013.
Michael Howell from Mallow was a passenger in the other car died and the driver, his neighbour Greta Zaliene suffered serious injuries. James Houlihan and a friend had been watching the night stage of a rally in Killarney and had little or no sleep when the car he was driving strayed over to the incorrect lane on a bend at Brennan’s Glen hitting an oncoming car.
Speed, drink, drugs or boy racer behaviour were not a factor in the case rather a lack of sleep is believed to have contributed to the incident.
Judge Tom O’Donnell described the victim impact statement on behalf of Mr Howell’s family as profound and their charitable nature was palpable in every line. The family said in the two years since Michael died they have made peace but could only imagine what Mr Houlihan had to live through; they strongly opposed a prison term and appealed to the judge for leniency.
Ms Zaliene accepted it was a tragic accident.
Mr Houlihan wrote a letter offering a profound apology for his actions.
Judge Tom O’Donnell said Mr Houlihan owes the Howell family and Ms Zaliene an enormous debt of gratitude for their extraordinary plea for clemency. He said a custodial sentence would be inappropriate.
Mr Houlihan was fined 2,000 euro.