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Tourist killed after SatNav told driver to go wrong way near Cliffs of Moher, court hears

Grzegorz Barski has pleaded guilty to careless driving.

Image: shutterupeire via Shutterstock

A POLISH TOURIST was killed in a car accident near the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare two years ago after a driver was confused about his SatNav telling him to go the wrong direction, a court has heard.

At Ennis Circuit Court, counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL said that the State accepted that Grzegorz Barski’s SatNav telling him to go straight on instead of taking a right for the Cliffs of Moher at a junction was a contributory cause in the fatal accident on 31 May 2016.

In the crash, the front seat passenger in Barski’s car, Grzegorz Frydrych died while a motorcyclist, Charles Killeen, who collided with the car, suffered head injuries, including a fractured skull and multiple broken facial bones and was hospitalised for one month.

In the case, Barski, aged 36, of Jugback Crescent, Swords, Co Dublin has pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of Frydrych and careless driving causing serious bodily harm to Killeen.

Barski’s car collided with Killeen’s motorbike at a junction on the Wild Atlantic Way near the Cliffs of Moher after Barski failed to spot a stop sign near the junction.

Counsel for Barski, Rebecca Treacy BL said that he was following a SatNav system in travelling from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher.

The incident

Barski was travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way with his friend, Frydrych and a female passenger who was in the back seat of the car.

He was driving up a narrow country road near Doonagore Castle in Doolin that would meet with a junction on the R478, which led south to the Cliffs of Moher.

“On coming to the junction, Mr Barski thought that he had to go right to the Cliffs and the SatNAV was telling him to go straight on,” Treacy said.

“Mr Barski had slowed down and was confused in relation to the instructions that the SatNav system was giving to him at the time and this would be a factor in how he missed the stop sign and continued to drive through the particular junction.”

Connolly agreed, stating that Barski told gardaí that he remembered the brown tourist sign for the Cliffs of Moher telling him to go right while his SatNav was telling him to go straight on.

Connolly said that Barski was confused, didn’t know which was to way to go and before he knew it, it was too late as there was a collision with Killeen’s motorcycle.

“The confusion about the SatNav and momentarily inattention to see the stop sign is what caused the accident,” Connolly said.

Treacy said that the stop sign was located back from the junction and that there were no road markings confirming that there was a requirement to stop at the junction.

She said that the stop markings on the road have since been painted on the road, adding that there was simply no aggravating factors in the accident.

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She said that there was no speed and that Barski slowed down coming up to the junction.

Flawless driving record

Barski had not consumed any alcohol on the day and Treacy said that he had a flawless driving record and no previous convictions before the crash.

Barski works as a kitchen porter and has been living in Ireland for the past 10 years.

“It was simply a momentary lapse in concentration. Mr Barski’s remorse over the death of his friend is genuine and he offers his sincere deep apologies,” Treacy said.

Treacy said that there had been an early plea in the case. Judge Gerald Keys remanded Barski on continuing bail and adjourned sentencing to 21 May.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

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Gordon Deegan

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