A SOLICITOR described it as a “mystery” as to why a strap holding cattle grid slabs on the back of a lorry snapped causing them to fall onto a van seriously injuring its driver.
At Omagh Magistrates Court, the driver of the lorry, Richard Joseph Tracey (62) of Carrontreemall, Enniskillen admitted a charge of carrying an insecure load. He was fined £1,000.
However the court was told that the fine will be paid by the company the defendant was working for at the time; Tracey Concrete, Enniskillen.
The incident happened on the Tummery Road, Omagh, on the morning of October 21 last year. The lorry shed the load of cattle grids which landed on a van causing “serious damage” to its structure. The van finished in the hedge with and its driver received a fractured sternum and three fractured ribs.
The court was told the strap holding the slabs had ‘snapped’. The van driver was compensated for his injuries and the damage to his vehicle.
Defence solicitor Kevin Murnaghan described the accident as “very serious which thankfully did not cause permanent damage”.
He said Tracey had been driving since he was 17 and the ‘normal’ delivery load was not loaded by him although he did check it at the premises. He stated his client believed the cattle grids were securely strapped in.
Mr Murnaghan added that a tightening rachet had been used on the straps and there was no suggestion that the lorry was overloaded. The tachograph was also examined and the lorry was not speeding at the time of the incident.
The solicitor stated, “There is no evidence brought to bear as to why it snapped. The business would say they have used this method for 30 years and never had an incident like this. They would have done over 15,000 loads in that time. The Prosecution are unable to ascertain why it snapped. It was not frayed. It is a mystery why it snapped. It broke half way up the lead”.
District Judge Mark McGarrity asked, “Why has Tracey Concrete not been prosecuted?”
A Prosecution lawyer replied, “I am not sure”.
Mr Murnaghan then said the employer (Tracey Concrete) will discharge the monetary penalty.
Judge McGarrity said he was treating the defendant as someone with a clear record and good character.
He stated, “That this happened was somewhat of an aberration but against that there was a danger in this case. The culpability is with with him (the lorry driver Tracey), those who employed him and those who secured the load”.
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