‘Mystery’ of driver who lost memory miles before crashing into lorry

Enniskillen Courthouse

Enniskillen Courthouse

A LISNASKEA man who claimed he experienced a memory lapse while driving erratically from Newtownbutler to Clones before ploughing into a lorry hadn’t a ‘drop of drink’, a court has heard.

It is still unclear how 34-year-old Patrick Vaughan, who suffers from diabetes, experienced the memory loss which caused him to swerve into oncoming traffic and drive on the wrong side of the road for a number of miles.


Vaughan, of Carrowshee Park, pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving and no insurance when he appeared before Fermanagh Magistrates Court.

Paramedics who attended the crash scene checked the defendant’s insulin levels which were said to be ‘perfect’.

The court heard that the accused told police officers he thought he was travelling from Clones, however, another driver who followed him from Newtownbutler after becoming concerned about his driving, said he had been travelling towards the town.

A prosecutor told the court that the concerned driver spotted Vaughan at around 9.30pm on April 12 last year.

The third party statement handed to officers claimed that Vaughan pulled out in front of a number of vehicles which caused them to swerve on several occasions.

He saw the defendant swerving and driving on the footpath before continuing on through a roundabout as he drove between Moorlough Road, Newtownbutler and Clones Road.

The witness dropped his distance as he thought he may have been under the influence of alcohol, but this later ruled out.


Shortly after this the driver could see the lights of a lorry travelling towards them.

The lorry driver could see Vaughan’s vehicle lights and noticed he was on the wrong side. He braked sharply and mounted the verge but the defendant’s car struck the right side of the lorry causing the lorry to jack-knife.

Ambulance crew found the defendant slumped across the wheel with blood coming from his nose.

Police check later discovered he was not covered by car insurance.

Defence barrister Mark Lennon described the case as unusual saying that he wanted to commend the other driver’s detailed report and the efforts made to attract his client’s attention.

He added: “There are not many people would have done that.

“You tend to read this and think he had a drop of drink but he didn’t.

“All he remembers is lights coming towards him and he thought he was coming from Clones.

“He is diabetic and has suffered for six years with it but he monitors his blood levels constantly.

“Mr Vaughan goes to Clones every week to do the lotto but he still can’t explain what happened that night.

“During the police interview he said he believed he had been to the Apple Centre in Clones and was driving towards Newtownbutler.

“This has never happened him before and his driving has never attracted the attention of the police. It is much a mystery to him as to anyone else.”

The court heard that Vaughan had obtained his insurance online through a USA based website.

He paid £169 for a six week temporary insurance but it wasn’t verified.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said: “Your driving was erratic and potentially dangerous given that you were on the wrong side of the road.

“That could have resulted in severe injury or a fatality.

“It’s still a bit of a mystery as to why you were driving like that.

“As for the no insurance I accept you bought it in good faith.”

Vaughan was fined £400 and disqualified until he is re-tested.

The defendant is to appeal and was handed a fixed bail of £500.

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