Driver who broke red light and knocked down 12-year-old girl avoids jail – The Irish Times

A man who broke a red light and knocked down a 12-year-old girl as she was crossing the road experienced a “momentary lapse in concentration”, a court has heard.

The child suffered soft tissue swelling to her temple and a cut to her eyebrow but has made a full recovery since she was hit by the car in Dublin last year, a court has heard.

Guillermo Salazar (51) was initially charged with dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of careless driving causing serious bodily harm, on March 18th, 2023, at Wyckham Way, Dundrum, Dublin.

Salazar, with an address at Greenpark Road, Bray, Co Wicklow, was given a nine-month suspended sentence at a sitting of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Wednesday.

Garda Jason McDonnell told Antonia Boyle, prosecuting, that when gardaí were called to the scene they found the victim lying on the road beside the footpath, already being treated by members of the Fire Brigade.

A Peugeot that had been driven by Salazar was parked nearby.

Salazar told gardaí at the scene he had a green traffic light at the pedestrian crossing but had been unable to avoid a collision and had struck the girl.

A witness who was driving behind Salazar said he saw a red light at the crossing ahead but noticed the Peugeot in front of him was not stopping.

This man said he saw a girl walking out on to the road and sounded his horn in an attempt to warn her, but the Peugeot drove straight through the red light and hit the girl.

A second pedestrian witness described seeing a girl taking two steps on to the road before a grey car drove through the crossing and struck her.

This witness said he then looked at the pedestrian lights and saw they were green.

The 12-year-old told gardaí the following month she remembered getting “a green man” and could not recall anything further until she woke up in hospital.

A Garda Forensic Collision Investigation Unit compiled a report using CCTV footage that was played in court, which said the child stood at the crossing for 18 seconds after pressing the button for the traffic lights.

The report said the driver of the Peugeot turned his front wheels slightly to the right in an apparent effort to avoid the pedestrian but he was too close when he tried to take this evasive action.

The car collided with the girl and she spun towards the wing mirror and hit her head off the windscreen, the court heard.

Salazar was driving at 45km/h in a 50km/h zone and was not under the influence, the court heard.

The report said that the girl was not obscured from view and had Salazar reacted within one second, the collision may have been avoided.

She underwent plastic surgery to repair a laceration of her left eyebrow and was discharged from hospital a few days later.

Garda McDonnell agreed with Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, that his client entered an early guilty plea.

He also accepted the defence’s suggestion that there was no sign of prior inappropriate driving and it appeared Salazar had suffered a “momentary lapse in concentration”.

Mr Ó Lideadha said his client was very distressed by this collision, due to the harm caused to the victim, and the consequences of a conviction. A letter of apology was provided to the court.

Judge Martin Nolan said the victim “did what you should do” while crossing a road.

He said if the defendant had been concentrating properly, he would have seen the red light, describing Salazar as guilty of inattention and responsible for the collision that occurred.

Judge Nolan imposed a nine-month sentence suspended in full on strict conditions.

He declined to impose a driving disqualification, noting Salazar’s licence will be endorsed which will have its own consequences.

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