Breakdown recovery driver was catapulted onto the fast lane of the M3 motorway

A BREAKDOWN recovery driver was catapulted onto the fast lane of the M3 motorway in Co Meath when he was struck by an articulated truck five years ago Trim Circuit Court heard.

The victim later had to have both legs amputated and still remains wheelchair bound as he requires ongoing surgery to his arms before he can have artificial limbs fitted.

Martin Giles (39), of Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious injury to Colm Eogan at Berrillstown, Dunshaughlin on 12th July 2017.

The court heard the defendant was travelling towards Cavan that night when his truck struck the victim who was winching a broken down car onto his flatbed recovery truck which was parked in on the hard shoulder of the northbound lane between junctions 6 and 7 of the M3.

A garda told prosecutor Carl Hanahoe BL that Mr Eogan was wearing a high vis jacket and his vehicle had its flashing lights on.

In a victim impact statement Colm Eogan said he was standing on the back of his truck when he heard a bang followed by darkness and lights and then he found himself lying on the fast lane of the motorway unable to move.

“I thought: Jesus, what was happening, would I ever see my family again,” he said.

The court heard he managed to crawl under his truck and phone his boss.

The 49-year-old father-of-two said the pain was horrific and he thought he was going to die on the way to Connolly hospital and would never see his partner and children again.

“This is it. I’m going up to my mum and dad in heaven,” he thought.

He said he was put into an induced coma which he described as his worst nightmare multiplied by a hundred.

He had missed out on so much of his children's lives since the accident and added that because of his injuries his life now had been turned into a living nightmare.

Mr Eogan's partner Jacinta said what happened that day had torn their “perfect little family apart”.

After being informed of the crash she said she didn't know if Colm was alive or dead on her way to Connolly hospital.

“I'll never forget the sight of seeing such a big strong man fighting for his life hooked up to all the machines,” she said.

She said a lot of alterations had to be made to their home to accommodate Colm's needs.

“All the little things we took for granted we can no longer do. Everywhere we go has to be wheelchair friendly. Both kids say they'd like to give Daddy their legs for a day,” she said.

The court that when interviewed by gardai the defendant said he had seen hazy lights of the vehicle on the hard shoulder but did not change course as there was a car in the passing lane.

A defence barrister told Judge Terence O'Sullivan his client had made a momentary lapse on the night and the defendant's mother Carol Giles pleaded for leniency and mercy for her son.

“He can't cope knowing that this man is the way he is because of this accident,” she said.

Judge O'Sullivan remarked the it had been more than a momentary lapse by the defendant.

“He absolutely should have seen the breakdown vehicle,” adding that while he accepted the defendant was remorseful he had to accept responsibility.

The judge imposed a sentence of three-and-a-half years with the final year suspended and banned Giles from driving for ten years.