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Driver took trousers off before crashing into pensioners

A man was driving with his trousers off when he careered across the road and crashed into an oncoming car causing severe injuries to a 69-year-old Londonderry man and his wife, a court has heard.

Donegal Circuit Court heard yesterday that Colm Nibbs celebrated his 30th birthday lying in a hospital bed beside the injured man, John Lynch, who was still unconscious.

Father of three Nibbs, of Trentagh, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, admitted careless driving on a bend on the N15 in the middle of Barnesmore Gap near Donegal town.

Gda Sgt Iggy Larkin said that the head-on collision happened when Nibbs’ car crossed a white line following extremely heavy rain.

His silver Peugeot 307 collided with the car driven by insurance agent Mr Lynch who was travelling with his wife Ann.

Sgt Larkin said: “Witnesses said Mr Nibbs was wearing no clothes at the time of the accident.”

All three victims of the crash were taken to Letterkenny General Hospital. Mr Lynch, who is now 71, was unconscious for six weeks before he was transferred to Altnagelvin Hospital.

The court heard that Nibbs, a €30,000-a-year IT systems analyst, made a Garda statement during which he said he was returning from a visit to his grandmother in Sligo. He opened a can of Red Bull and took a slug and spilled it on his jeans in his crotch area. He removed the jeans to put them near the heater and continued driving.

He couldn’t remember the accident until he woke up in pain after it. He spent two weeks in intensive care and was off work for eight months.

Judge John O’Hagan was told Mr Lynch could not attend court but a statement was read in which he said he wasn’t expected to survive after the accident.

He had suffered injuries which meant he was no longer an active man and could not visit his brother in Co. Clare. He was only able to take short walks near his home.

The statenebt from Mr Lynch said: “Mr Nibbs has not shown remorse. Indeed, he celebrated his 30th birthday while I lay in the next bed in the hospital, not expected to survive.”

After hearing Nibbs, who said he thought every day about the damage done to the other driver, Judge O’Hagan said he accepted he wanted to write a remorseful letter to Mr Lynch but had been legally advised against doing so for fear it would be seen to interfere with a witness.

The judge said: “Maybe his jeans had fallen off the heater and he bent down to pick them up just for a split second. It only took a split second for that accident to happen.”

Judge O’Hagan added there was no evidence of speed or reckless driving.

He fined Nibbs €500, ordered him to do 100 hours community service, and banned him from driving for a year.

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