Suffered PTSD After Fatal Crash

A County Wexford man suffered post traumatic stress disorder after a fatal road traffic accident involving a van and a road marking lorry in which he was a passenger, the High Court heard in Waterford.

Father-of-three Garry Blake (32), of 5 Mayview Park, Oulart, Gorey, settled his claim for damages arising out of the crash in which the van driver Tony O’Brien (30), a plumber and part-time bar man, of Ballinastraw, Bunclody, lost his life. The accident occurred on a bend near Ballywilliam, New Ross, on October 22nd, 2009.

Describing the accident, Garry Blake said when returning home from Waterford with a work colleague they came to a detour on the Enniscorthy Road and had to drive along a back road. At a bend in the road the lorry was involved in a bad collision with an oncoming van. The van driver, Mr O’Brien, was seriously injured and was later pronounced dead at Waterford Regional Hospital.

The plaintiff said his knee was injured but after a checkup he was discharged from hospital with painkillers and he returned to work after a week. The accident left him shocked and suffering from sleep disturbance for a 12-month period.

He started drinking up to 12 bottles of Heineken a night and his behaviour deteriorated and he started ‘lashing out’ at home.

During theses incidents he would pick up stuff and throw it across the room and punch the door or wall and kick a chair out of the way. Everything got on top of him and on a couple of occasions he threatened to commit suicide.

In May 2011, he attended a birthday party in Marty’s Pub near Oulart and a couple of the lads came up to his house the next morning and he drank between 10 and 15 bottles of beer between 11am to 5pm.

All he was thinking of was the fatal accident and he could not get it out of his head. Everything built up in his head and he lashed out and punched the wall and a chair with his fist. The punch broke two bones in his right hand. An operation to fuse the bones failed and he had to have another graft operation.

Since then he was unable to work although he liked his job and it was still available with Colin Hearne, Road Marking Contractors, Ballygarron, Kilmuckridge.

Replying to questions the Plaintiff said he was so upset by the fatality that he could not attend the funeral. He suffered flashbacks and became emotional and was smoking 60 cigarettes a day. Pressure built up and he became irritable, moody and aggressive and felt he was likely to hit somebody and he punched the wall in a fit of temper. But he did not have an anger problem, he said. A

fter this he reduced his drinking and only went out to the pub on family occasions or when there was a big match on TV. He could no longer play soccer with St Joseph’s Club or play golf at Kilmuckridge.

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