LATEST: Dayna Kearney unaware Athy fatal accident car had no NCT

Trial underway in Naas Circuit Court of driver of vehicle in which four young women died in 2015

Paul O'Meara

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Paul O'Meara

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Dayna Kearney unaware Athy fatal accident car had no NCT

Naas Courthouse

The driver of the vehicle in which four young women died following a road accident outside Athy was unaware it did not have a valid NCT.

Dayna Kearney, whose address was listed at Crossneen, Carlow, has pleaded not guilty to allegations of dangerous driving causing death and driving a defective vehicle.

The accident happened at 9.45pm on January 6, 2015 and claimed the lives of Athy resident Aisling Middleton (19) and Carlow natives Niamh Doyle (19), Chermaine Carroll (20) and Gemma Nolan (19).

All five were friends. They were ice skating that day and had visited a McDonald's restaurant prior to the collision at Burtown on the outskirts of the town.

In a statement made some four months after the accident, Ms Kearney said she bought the car having seen a notice for sale on a website and having viewed the vehicle in Allenwood.

Ms. Kearney believed the vehicle, a VW Polo with a 2001 registration, had a valid NCT until April 2015.

It was only when her mother requested a  copy of the certificate from the NCT authority that it transpired  it did not have one and this came as a great shock. It emerged that the NCT had run out in May 2014.

Ms. Kearney, now 23,  was initially unable to make a statement because of the severity of her injuries as a result of the collision.

Sgt. Donal O'Sullivan gave evidence at her trial at Naas Circuit Court today and said she wished to make a statement before that but was not physically able to until May 2015.

In the statement Ms. Kearney said she travelled to Kilkenny that day with her four friends but remembered nothing after leaving McDonald's.

Tracy Norton told the hearing that she was travelling behind a white van on her way home from work between 9.40-9.45pm at 50-55mph and witnessed the collision.

The van slowed down to 35 mph she could see a car approaching. The van pulled in and she could see the car swerve, then straighten up before it “shot across the road in front of the van.” The car was travelling no faster than the van. The passenger side of the car hit the front of the van.

Ms. Norton contacted the emergency services immediately and went to the car where the driver was screaming.

She did not initially realise there were people in the back of the car.

The white van went on fire and fire services personnel arrived on the scene.

Bus driver Mark Fitzgerald, who works on the Dublin to Clonmel route, told of arriving on the scene. As he drove he could see flashlights which transpired to be lads holding mobile phones.

He said there were two Polish lads at the scene who were hysterical and shouting “help the girls, help the girls”.

He said he sought out three trainee doctors among his bus passengers to help at the scene.

“It was immediately clear that it was a serious accident. The driver was the only one in the car I believed to be alive,” he said.

A Polish man, who was a passenger in the van which collided with the car, said the crash happened very quickly. He said he had been to Athy to collect a scooter, which was in the back of the van. He told the court they were traveling about 70km per hour when he saw the Polo coming towards them sliding from left to right. He said he told his friend to slow down and he hit the brakes very quickly.

The court heard how the passenger side of the car collided with the passenger side of the van.

A garda who examined the scene in the aftermath of the crash said the marks on the road showed the car had slid across onto the wrong side of the road.

Defence barraster, Roderick O'Hanlon said the defence had got an engineer to compile a report. He said his evidence would show the cats eyes on the road were 35mm high and not the standard 18mm to 25mm.

The garda said she had not measured the height of the cats eyes but had checked them to see if they were lose, damaged or had any jagged edges. 

The court was adjourned at 4pm with evidence due to resume tomorrow. 

SEE ALSO UPDATE: Court hears speed not an issue in Dayna Kearney fatal accident case in Athy 

SEE ALSO Dayna Kearney pleads not guilty today in Kildare fatal car crash case