The victim of a road collision has spoken of the impact the crash has had on his life, and family, before Thurles District Court.
Seamus Healy told Judge Elizabeth MacGrath that the apology from the driver, Marty Woods, was “too little, too late,” in emotional scenes from the Witness Box.
The Court heard how both men’s lives were transformed forever, following the night of September 11, 2016, at the New Road, Urlingford.
Mr Woods, of 17 Emerald Gardens, Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny, was the driver of a car which collided with Mr Healy, leaving him with serious injuries.
A previous hearing of the Court heard that Mr Woods was identified as the driver, and charged with failing to report an accident, having no insurance, no driving licence, failing to keep a vehicle at the scene of an accident, failing to give appropriate information, and Dangerous Driving contrary to Section 53 of the Road Traffic Act.
The case was adjourned to December 5 for a Victim Impact Statement (VIS). In Court, Mr Woods said he never wanted the crash to happen, and was left shaking from the incident. “I genuinely felt bad about it. I’m taking full responsibility for that.” Mr Woods’ life “has been completely different” since the crash, and “I understand completely where they are coming from. I am really sorry. Everything is different.”
Mr Healy suffered injuries to his right eye socket, a fractured nose, broken cheek bone, his jaw was dislocated, and he sustained two broken teeth, and 30 stitches to his face, tongue and lips.
Mr Healy told the Judge that since that day, his life had been “turned upside down.” Mr Healy has had to take time off work to attend hospital appointments continuously, and it has changed his relationship with his family and partner. “I cannot accept how I feel,” he said. Mr Healy has had to undergo several rounds of surgery to heal the scars on his face, and requires implants in his head. “They had to break my cheekbone.” Mr Healy has had plastic surgery, and meets with a psychiatrist regularly. His visits to Dublin for appointments have been covered by holiday pay, and he has returned to work in order to retain his position. “I cannot accept my appearance,” he said. Mr Woods’ apology is “too little, too late. It’s just unacceptable,” said Mr Healy.
Judge MacGrath said she understood the huge impact it has had on Mr Healy. But Mr Woods “did openly apologise. It has had an effect on him as well.”
Judge MacGrath adjourned the case to February 6th next, to assess how much compensation should be paid to Mr Healy in relation to his medical bills.