Taxi driver denies driving without due care and attention, causing death

The driver of a minibus taxi who drove over a Letterkenny woman lying on the road in Ballyshannon on New Year’s Day 2015, thought he had been in contact with a “cardboard box” at first, a court was told.

William McKee of Carricknahorna, Cashelard, Ballyshannon is pleading not guilty to a charge of driving without due care and attention, causing the death of 33- year- old Sheena Stewart at Main Street Ballyshannon on January 1st 2015

The mother-of-three had been living in Letterkenny, and had come back from a night out in neighbouring Bundoran when the alleged incident happened around 1.50 am.

The court was told the mother-of-three was lying on the road in the “foetal position” on the road outside the bus station when the collision happened.

The defendant later said at interview, that he did not see the mother-of-three, and when the back axle of the minibus went over the object, he felt “something solid” underneath, so he turned his van and came back to the scene of the alleged incident.

Ms Stewart was wearing dark clothes at the time of the collision, the court heard.

In outlining the Prosecution case before a seven men and five-woman jury at Donegal Town Circuit Court, Ms Eileen O’Leary SC said the defendant was driving a red Ford Transit taxi minibus at Main Street Ballyshannon when the alleged incident occurred at around 1.50 am.

Ms Stewart died from multiple injuries as a result of the collision, the court heard.

The court heard that Ms Stewart had travelled from her home in Letterkenny to Bundoran to stay in a B&B in Bundoran with her boyfriend on December 31 to celebrate the holiday season.

They arrived in the afternoon, and went out to socialise in the town later.

The victim had a disagreement with her boyfriend, left the B&B, and walked to the Finner Roundabout about 1.4km distance at around 1 a.m.

She was trying to get a lift back to Letterkenny and was upset, the court heard.

Two passing members of An Garda Siochana stopped, and gave her a lift to Ballyshannon Bus Station and told her she could get a bus to Letterkenny that was coming from Dublin Airport, the court heard.

Ms Stewart told the gardai that her boyfriend had her phone and her money, but she had a bus pass and was brought to Ballyshannon.

Ms Stewart, who had “drink taken” but was “not intoxicated”, was trying to wave down traffic near the bus station in Ballyshannon, and two vehicles swerved to avoid her, the court heard.

The court was told that Ms Stewart was lying on the road in the “foetal position” before she was struck by the minibus.

She was dragged along the road for a time before the van turned around and came back.

An ambulance was called and Dr Isabella Grant pronounced Sheenagh Stewart dead at 2.45 am, the court heard.


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