Close call for delivery driver as ball bearing misses his eye

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A Tesco delivery driver was allegedly shot below the eye with a ball bearing in Killinarden last Thursday, showing a dramatic escalation in the issues that Tesco drivers face when delivering in some parts of West Tallaght, after a driver last week spoke to The Echo about drivers being robbed.

As reported in The Echo last week, Tesco delivery drivers are reluctant to deliver to certain areas of Tallaght after being robbed on a number of occasions – with one delivery driver being kept in his van until he handed his wallet over to two assailants who had removed the keys from his van’s ignition.

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These issues have worsened in recent days, with one driver telling The Echo that he was shot with what he initially believed to be a pellet from a pellet gun when he was driving his van along Killinarden Hill on Thursday night.

The driver later found a ball bearing in among the shards of glass that came in on him as the projectile came through the closed driver-side window of his van.

The driver, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Echo: “I was coming from Ellensborough, heading towards Sundale, when I heard an unmerciful bang at the side of the van.

“Then the glass from the van window came in on me, and I felt burning on my face.

“It all took place within milliseconds, and when the glass came in on me, I came to a stop.

“I got out of the van to see what happened and people in their cars were pointing at my face. I put my hand up to my face and blood was coming out of my cheek.”

The driver then contacted gardai who attended the scene, and he returned to the Tesco base in Naas and sought medical treatment in an out-of-hours GP service.

The driver hasn’t been back to work since, and is suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

 “I was absolutely stunned that it happened, and a lot of the other drivers were shaken by it,” the driver said. “Now I’m very anxious and hyper-alert.

“I went out for a walk with the dog yesterday and I was waiting for something to happen.”

When asked how he feels about returning to work in the future, the driver said that he would be “fairly apprehensive” about returning to the Killinarden area again.

“I’d be waiting for something to happen,” the driver explained, “because it’s been a continuous stream of events that led to this.”

The driver added that he has received assistance from Tesco since the incident, and that they have been “very, very supportive” of him.

The driver also wanted to point out that he is aware that “it’s only a small minority that’s causing anti-social behaviour”, but that they are making it difficult and dangerous for Tesco drivers to continue delivering food in West Tallaght.

A garda spokesperson said: “Gardai in Tallaght are aware of an alleged assault that occurred at Killinarden Hill, Tallaght on Thursday, April 4, 2019, at approx. 8pm.

“A male (40s) was driving and something came through the window of his van and hit him. On arrival gardai could not find any suspects. Enquires are ongoing.”

A spokesperson for Tesco Ireland told The Echo: “The safety and security of our grocery home shopping team is our utmost priority. We’re aware of the incident and a garda investigation is underway. As such we are unable to comment further at this time.”

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