A drink driver has been fined €1,000 and banned for three years following a collision in which another driver was lucky to have avoided serious injury or death.
Judge Kevin Kilrane said that, were it not for the air-bags in Anne Marie Campbell’s car, she “might not be here today.”
He was dealing with a case in which 35-year-old chef Martin McGarrigle was said at Donegal District Court to have consumed four times the legal drink-drive limit.
“Judge Kilrane said: “He wasn’t just drunk. He was out of his mind on drink. He mounted the grass as he was unable to take the bend, no doubt as a result of his alcohol intake.”
He added: “It was a very powerful impact and Ms Campbell is lucky to have avoided serious injury. Were it not for the airbags in her vehicle, she may not be here today.”
The case arose from a road traffic accident at Rathforker, Donegal Town on June 17 last.
A jeep being driven by McGarrigle collided with Ms Campbell’s vehicle.
Traffic Corps Garda Louis Browne said he found an ambulance crew at the scene attending to the two injured people when he arrived
He noticed McGarrigle’s his eyes were bloodshot and his speech slurred.
After failing three times to provide a breath sample at the roadside, McGarrigle was taken by ambulance to Letterkenny General Hospital.
Later that evening, he opted to provide a blood sample that returned a reading of 217 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres
Ms Campbell told the court that she had been travelling home from work in Sligo to collect her daughter when she observed the black jeep
being driven by McGarrigle in the 50km per hour area.
She said: “The vehicle seemed to have lost control as it went up onto the grass verge on its own side and then crossed onto the other
side of the road before it impacted with mine.
“My glasses fell off in the collision and I thought I was trapped.”
As she was trying to find her phone to call the emergency services, someone opened her door and asked if she was okay.
Ms Campbell was also treated at hospital in Letterkenny following the collision.
The court heard that McGarrigle, from The Cross, Cashelard, near Ballyshannon, had one previous conviction for drink driving.
That conviction dates from 2006.
Judge Kilrane fined McGarrigle €600 for drink driving and disqualified him from driving for three years.
The judge also imposed a further €400 fine and two-year concurrent ban for dangerous driving.