by David Raleigh
VIDEO footage of a car colliding with pedestrians and hurtling them into the air during an alleged ‘hit and run’ in Limerick City last Sunday morning, was played during a bail hearing at Limerick District Court this Tuesday, October 12.
The CCTV footage showed a car approaching a group of pedestrians from behind, before it appeared to speed up and plough directly into them.
Some of the pedestrians can be seen being flung into the air by the impact, before the car is seen leaving the scene without stopping.
Gardaí alleged that the car involved was a red coloured Audi A4, and that Chloe McNamara, (20), with an address at Sarsfield Gardens, Moyross, Limerick, was the driver.
Gardaí objected to bail on a number of grounds, including the seriousness of the charges against Ms McNamara; that they regard her as a flight risk and that she would intimidate witnesses, as well as the nature and strength of the evidence.
Garda Patricia McCormack, Henry Street Garda Station, told the court that gardaí responded to “a hit and run road traffic collision” at Cornmarket Row in Limerick City at 1.10am.
She said paramedics were already at the scene treating three injured pedestrians, including a man and two women, who were all “lying on the road”.
Garda McCormack said the three pedestrians were still being treated for serious injuries at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) including the man who sustained “serious head and spinal injuries” and remained in a critical condition. The two injured female pedestrians were being treated for “serious neck and back injuries”.
The court did not hear evidence about a third woman, aged 19, who gardaí stated last Sunday, had presented herself at UHL for injuries allegedly sustained in the incident.
Garda McCormack said gardaí had obtained CCTV footage showing a red Audi A4 entering Cornmarket Row, which was busy with “a large crowd of people out socialising” at 1.03am on Sunday.
“The red audi can be seen hitting and knocking down three pedestrians” she told the court.
Garda McCormack said a red Audi was found by gardaí 15 minutes after the incident at Knockalisheen, near Moyross.
“There was blood visible on the front windscreen and bonnet of the car and it was taken for a technical examination,” she told the court.
Garda McCormack objected to bail, claiming that Ms McNamara “is a danger to the community and has no concern for other people”.
“She is a danger to the people of Limerick City, and I believe she will not stand trial if granted bail.”
“She is addicted to cannabis and it is my belief that this will lead to her committing further serious offences. Gardaí are concerned that she will intimidate witnesses in this case if she granted bail,” she further alleged.
During cross examination, Garda McCormack agreed with solicitor Sarah Ryan that Ms McNamara “declined” to have a solicitor present during her interviews with gardaí following her arrest, and that she “refused communications with her mother who is present here in the court”.
Ms McNamara was arrested last Sunday and initially charged in court on Monday with three counts of dangerous driving and one count of failing to assist the injured pedestrians.
Garda McCormack told Tuesday’s bail hearing that gardaí were preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions and “it is envisaged that further serious charges will follow”.
“Dangerous driving resulted in a hit and run in Cornmarket Row, and this is captured on excellent quality CCTV,” she told the court.
If convicted, Ms McNamara is facing the possibility of a maximum seven years in jail, the court heard.
Judge Carol Anne Coolican said Ms McNamara was “entitled to her presumption of innocence” however, she said, having considered the Garda objections, “the seriousness of the charges and the nature and strength of the evidence including the CCTV”, she felt it was “reasonably necessary to prevent further serious offences”, and refused bail.
She remanded Ms McNamara in continuing custody to appear before Limerick District Court again on October 26 for directions from the DPP.