Woman crossing road was ‘thrown in the air like a rag doll’

Letterkenny Court House

Letterkenny Court House

A woman was “thrown in the air like a rag doll” after coming out of Mass by a young driver who had already served a three-year disqualification for driving offences.

Frances Rutherford suffered a shattered elbow, a broken pelvis and fractures to her leg and head when she was struck by the black Volkswagen Passat which witnesses described as driving at speed as the congregation came out of Mass in Falcarragh on March 3 last year.

She was crossing the road after Mass when she was struck.

The driver of the car had been disqualified from driving for three years in February 2010 after being found guilty of dangerous driving.

Letterkenny District Court heard that he had his driving licence restored to him after serving two years of the ban.

The driver was found guilty of careless driving after a trial at Letterkenny District Court.

He had denied dangerous driving but admitted other driving offences including driving with no insurance and driving with a bald tyre.

Judge Paul Kelly reduced the charge from dangerous driving to careless driving and disqualified him from driving for four years.

The judge said the driver, who had four passengers in the car at the time, was not driving at a speed that was safe when he struck Mrs. Rutherford.

Mrs. Rutherford told the judge she saw no traffic coming before she crossed the road.

One witness said Mrs. Rutherford had almost reached the other side of the road when she was struck by the car. “She was thrown up in the air like a rag doll,” he said. Four witnesses said they saw Mrs Rutherford being thrown in the air by the car while three described the car as driving at speed.

A garda told the court he saw blood and hair on the windscreen of the car when he arrived at the scene.

A paramedic who had been attending Mass found the victim with no pulse.

Read the full story in today’s Donegal Democrat and Donegal People’s Press.




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