Mother thought she was going to die in accident

A mother who drove the car involved in an accident in which her four-year-old daughter was left in a wheelchair has spoken of how she thought she was going to die in the seconds after the impact.

A mother who drove the car involved in an accident in which her four-year-old daughter was left in a wheelchair has spoken of how she thought she was going to die in the seconds after the impact.

Sonia McGarvey from Bunbeg was speaking yesterday at the opening day of the trial of a pensioner charged with causing serious injury to her daughter, Noirín.

“The flames were getting higher and higher,” she said. “I expected not to get out of the car, that this was it. We’d had a conversation the week before about death and I thought this was a warning to me. I felt the flames were going to get me.”

William Barr (81) of Middletown, Gweedore has pleaded not guilty to the charge relating to a two vehicle collision at Dunlewey three years ago in which his wife Maggie died.

Noirín McGarvey, now aged seven, was travelling with her two-year-old brother Aodhán in the family car driven by her mother Sonia. The collision occurred in a 50kmph zone on the R251 on the outskirts of Dunlewey at around 5pm on May 27th, 2008. The McGarvey family were travelling from their home in Lower Dore, Bunbeg to visit Mrs. McGarvey’s parents in Kilmacrennan.

Mrs. McGarvey told Letterkenny Circuit Court that in the moments after the accident she thought she was going to die.

She was travelling under 50kmph and approaching a bend when she saw a black Volkswagen Jetta coming straight towards her from the other side of the road. She said she had no time to do anything other than brake and turn slightly to the left.

The impact of the collision knocked the Mazda 3 they were travelling back into a ditch. The car’s engine caught fire and the occupational therapist said she remembered someone pulling at the door.

Judge John O’Hagan complemented Mr. Devenney and lorry driver Pádraig Ó Gallachóir for their actions in rescuing the family from the burning car.

The trial continues.