Tyrone man writes-off Mercedes amid confusion over which side of the road to drive on


A Ballygawley man caused thousands of pounds of damage in a car accident because he was confused about which side of the road to drive on.

Istavan Robert Benyi, 43, from Main Street, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention.

East Tyrone Magistrates Court heard how police were called to the scene of a collision at the junction of Dungannon Road and Old Dungannon Road just outside Ballygawley on the evening of August 6.

They discovered a Mercedes car driven by Mr Benyi and a van with “significant damage”.

Both drivers attended hospital with the van owner suffering from a gash to the head. The defendant was admitted with pain in his back and side.

According to the police, the defendant had been attempting to exit Old Dungannon Road and had collided with the van.

He admitted the causing the collision saying that he had been confused about the direction of oncoming traffic as he had previously lived in countries where they drove on the other side of the road.

The police said that Mr Benyi asked after the wellbeing of the van driver on several occasions following the crash.

His solicitor told the court that his client was very remorseful and had no previous convictions.

He said that Benyi had been in full time employment since coming to this country in early 2015 and he had provided his insurance details to police on the day of the incident.

He stated that the £2,000 damage to the van was covered by his insurance and that Benyi had incurred losses of some £3,000 when his car was written off.

District Judge John Meehan agreed that the defendant should have the maximum credit in return for his early plea and handed down a fine of £250, four penalty points and an offender’s levy of £15.