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Judge Tom O'Donnell

Hit and run victim’s life changed

A FORMER inter-county hurler told Limerick Circuit Court how his life changed irreparably, due to catastrophic injuries received when a burglar trying to evade gardaí during a high-speed chase in Parteen ploughed into him.
Limerick Circuit Court heard that the injuries sustained by 79-year-old Eric Ryan in the incident in Parteen village last September resulted in him having a leg amputated above the knee.
Before the court was Michael Sheehan, 26, of 44 Cliona Park, Moyross, Limerick, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious injury to Mr Ryan and to two counts of burglary.
Detective Garda Ronan O’Reilly said Mr Ryan, from Corbally in Limerick, and two friends had gone to nearby Browne’s bar for a drink, after playing a game of pitch and putt.
Returning to a car park, they heard a garda car siren. The next thing a car, driven by Sheehan, crashed into the men, resulting in Mr Ryan suffering injuries that also included a fracture of the pelvis. He had been pinned under the car.
One of the two men with Mr Ryan recently died, the court heard.
Three days before this incident, despite gardaí objections, Sheehan had been granted bail for burglary and stealing a car.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Ryan said his life had changed in seconds.
As he lay on the ground with horrific injuries, Mr Ryan said his thoughts immediately turned to his wife, Kitty, a stroke patient who suffers from dementia. Up to that day, he had been his wife’s primary carer for years.
As a result of the injuries, he has gone from being a 100% independent person to being totally dependent on others to take care of his wife.
September 25, 2014, he said, was the last day he would ever see the upstairs of his house, go out with friends for a game of pitch and putt or take his grandchildren out to feed ducks.
His wife’s health had further declined and this had caused great changes.
Judge Tom O’Donnell adjourned sentencing to October 1. He said the victim impact statement was the most harrowing and profound he had come across.

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