The woman “pulled out of the car like a rag doll” after the accident

A 45-year-old mother and her two children were seriously injured in a head-on car crash in the Lombardstown area of ​​Mallow, and she has now described the accident as “a grenade thrown into our lives and we are left with art”.

This was the evidence of the victim’s impact presented at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, where Mary O’Brien, 71, of Alana, Mitchellsfort, Watergrasshill, Co. Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving causing serious bodily harm.

Judge Cormac Quinn said the victim’s injuries were the most severe he had seen in such cases.

Garda Mary Brosnan testified that the accident occurred on February 23, 2023 at 6.45pm on the N72 at Pallas, Lombardstown, Mallow, Co. Cork.

Garda Brosnan said Mary O’Brien was driving from Killarney when her Mercedes Benz veered onto the wrong side of the road and collided with a Renault Grand Scenic driven by a 45-year-old woman.

The passengers were her nine-year-old son and ten-year-old daughter. Garda Brosnan said the seriously injured driver suffered a broken pelvis and a number of fractures to both legs, while her son had a broken elbow and collarbone and her daughter also had a broken pelvis.

Garda Brosnan said Mary O’Brien, who admitted the cause of the accident was careless driving, suffered a broken ankle. The 71-year-old was interviewed twice and each time she asked about the injured people, but was told not to contact them because the investigation was ongoing.

The primary victim stated that she was overcome with feelings of fear and terror as she saw the lights approaching her, and stated that she often replays this moment.

She said trying to veer off the road to protect herself and her children was futile.

“I compared it to an attack on our minds, bodies and souls… This accident threw a grenade into our lives and we are left to pick up the pieces. I was dragged out of the car like a rag doll. (Now) when I start the day, I feel like I’m 90 years old,” she said.

The victim expressed her feeling that the defendant was disrespectful to her and her family. The injured party received a letter of apology on June 6. The injured party told Cork Circuit Criminal Court: “Your apology letter was more of a victim impact statement.” She said a card with a short apology would be appreciated, but not a letter written by the accused.

Defense barrister Donal O’Sullivan said: ‘My client expressed herself very badly in the letter. She has a guilty conscience. She’s never been in trouble in her life. I don’t want to cause any further worry.”

Judge Cormac Quinn expressed concern that the defense argued the defendant was remorseful but the victim did not accept this. He stated that in these circumstances he wanted the accused to be given a suspended opinion and, in particular, to be given the opportunity to apply restorative justice. The victim indicated that she would prefer the matter to be finalized.

Judge Quinn said: “The case will not be finalized today… I would not be happy if the defendant tried to take back what was in the letter. I’ll put that back into the probation report. The probation officer will interview the defendant, and you (the injured party) can apply restorative justice if you wish.

“Obviously she (injured) went through hell and back with her injuries. Her injuries are the most severe I have ever seen in one of these cases.

In adjourning the submission of the probation report, the judge said it was also intended to examine the defendant’s “attitude, understanding or remorse”. The matter was postponed to October 30, when another date for finalization would be set shortly thereafter.