Firefighter who had 16 drinks jailed over a fatal hit and run

by Sylvia Pownall

A firefighter who had up to 16 drinks before he knocked down a young man and left him to die on the side of the road has been jailed for five and a half years.

Callum Grimes (28), from Rush, was found unconscious with serious head injuries on the side of the road on December 27, 2016 and died in hospital seven months later.

On Monday, Derek Keane (40), of The Cottage, Loughshinny, was sentenced over his death after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death and failing to offer assistance.

At an earlier hearing last week, Callum’s father, Mark, wept as he told the court in a victim impact statement how their family would never be the same after the loss of their “blue-eyed boy”.

He told the court his wife Catherine was diagnosed with cancer while Callum was in a coma in Beaumont Hospital, and she started her treatment four days after he was buried.

In a statement, the couple described popular musician Callum as “a shy boy who loved life”, adding: “We struggle in the name of all that’s decent to understand how you killed our son and left him on the side of the road.”

His heartbroken dad revealed: “His mother and I watched as a strong, happy boy faded to a skeletal figure in front of our eyes.”

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Keane had drunk between 12 and 15 pints of Guinness and a gin and tonic before taking his van home from the pub on the night.

Callum had been walking home in the early hours after a night out in a pub with friends but there was evidence he was alert to traffic and not impaired by alcohol.

Keane had no memory of the collision, or of driving home, but went to Gardai after he woke up, saw the damage to his van and heard there had been an incident on the road.

Sentencing him, Judge Martin Nolan said the amount father-of-three Keane drank had rendered him “insensible” and incapable of having control of his vehicle.

The court heard that a bread delivery man found Callum lying on the roadside at 8.10am and he was still breathing, though his breath was laboured.

He said the 28-year-old was lying on his back with his runners placed neatly on the ground beside him.

Callum’s parents said if emergency services had been called in the immediate aftermath of the incident, their son would still be alive today.

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