Man (20) sues over alleged severe injuries sustained in fatal Co Carlow crash

Man (20) Sues Over Alleged Severe Injuries Sustained In Fatal Co Carlow Crash
Scott John Matthew Bowes' High Court personal injuries action has been brought against the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
Share this article

High Court reporters

A young man has sued over alleged severe injuries he sustained when the car he was travelling in with four friends hit a wall, killing the 16-year-old driver.

Scott John Matthew Bowes was also aged 16 at the time of the February 2019 accident which, he says, caused him injuries to his neck, shoulder and leg, as well as lasting psychological impact.


The driver, Eamon Kavanagh, did not have a licence, due to being 16, and was consequently uninsured. He died when the vehicle hit a concrete wall where a narrow road, coming off Mount Leinster, crossed a cattle grid, south of Myshall. The four other occupants were taken from the scene to hospital.

Mr Bowes (now aged 20), from Myshall, Co Carlow, told the court he and Mr Kavanagh had played hurling together for many years, and he was a very close friend. He missed his funeral as he was still in hospital, “which was hard”, he told the court.


His High Court personal injuries action has been brought against the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), which handles claims against untraced and uninsured drivers, and, at the MIBI’s request, Mr Kavanagh’s mother, Jennie Kavanagh, as the owner of the vehicle. A solicitor was sued as the representative of Eamon Kavanagh’s estate.

Negligence has been admitted in relation to the driving at night, but other matters are in dispute, Mr Bowes’s senior counsel, Richard Lyons, told the court.


The MIBI contends it is not liable to compensate Mr Bowes considering he entered the vehicle with a driver who had no insurance policy, was underage and had no ability to exercise control over the vehicle.

The court heard the vehicle the five students were travelling in during the early hours of February 24th, 2019, belonged to Mr Kavanagh’s mother, of Myshall. She had a valid insurance policy, but, as the car was taken without her permission and the driver was underage, the policy did not apply.

Mr Bowes has acknowledged he was aware his friend had consumed two or three drinks before he got behind the wheel, said Mr Lyons. Mr Bowes was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

In the witness box, he described a sense of fear as he realised the car was heading down the side of a hill, and he recalled lying on the ground outside the vehicle.


The events leading up to the incident began when Eamon Kavanagh sent him a message at about 1.40am, he said. Eamon and another of the teenagers involved arrived at his home and they proceeded to collect two other boys and three girls to go to an abandoned house outside Borris village. There, they drank some cider, with Mr Bowes drinking one or two ciders, he said.


Later, the five boys were in the car driven by Eamon, who, Mr Bowes said, had consumed about two or three ciders. The next thing he recalled was heading towards a wall and hitting it.

The accident was “horrible”, and “everyone was screaming”, said Mr Bowes, adding that he remembers feeling cold lying on the ground awaiting the ambulance.

He dislocated his shoulder, fractured his leg and damaged his neck. He was in a wheelchair for about three months and wore a neck brace for six months, and he is still hampered by the physical injuries, he said. He suffered nightly nightmares about the accident, he told the court.


He began a third-level quantity surveying course in Letterkenny, but he dropped out while suffering from depression and having difficulty eating and sleeping, he said. He went to work in construction with his father.

Under cross-examination from Hugh Mohan SC, for the defendants, Mr Bowes said he did not know then that a 16-year-old is not old enough for a driving licence. Asked if he thought Ms Kavanagh allowed Eamon to take her car, Mr Bowes said: “Looking back at it, no. But then I did not think about it”.

Mr Mohan said Ms Kavanagh will tell the court she did not give permission for her son to take the vehicle.

It was put to him that he knew, aged 16, that taking off at 2am in the morning for a drive was unacceptable. Mr Bowes responded: “I did not know it then.”

Mr Bowes alleges his personal injuries, loss, damage and inconvenience were sustained due to negligence and breach of duty on behalf of the defendants.

The case before Mr Justice Paul Coffey continues.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by