CORONER PLEADS WITH PEOPLE TO DRIVE SAFELY AFTER DEATH OF DONEGAL PENSIONER

July 5, 2012

A Donegal coroner has warned the public that speeding is not always the cause of road deaths.

Coroner John Cannon was speaking during an inquest into the death of a pensioner during a horrific road crash.

The head-on collision in Dunlewey, Co Donegal also resulted in a five year old girl being left in a wheelchair for life.

The dead woman Maggie Barr had spent many years acting and appeared in many television series’ including TG4’s CU Burn.

Mrs Barr was coming back from an eye appointment in Letterkenny, Co Donegal when the car she was in was involved in a horrific road smash.

An inquest into Mrs Barr’s death found today that she died as a result of injuries sustained as a result of a traffic accident.

Letterkenny Coroner’s Court heard how Mrs Barr of Middletown, Derrybeg, and her husband Willie were travelling in their Volkswagen Jetta May 27th, 2008 when they were involved in a head-on collision in the village of Dunlewey.

Mr Barr’s car was in collision with another car containing a mother and her two young children.

Seconds after the collision, the family’s Mazda 3 went on fire and the Ni Gairbheith children Noirin, 5, and Aodan, 2, were caught in the back of the car.

They were eventually freed by passers-by before the car was gutted due the blaze.

A statement from Mrs Sonia Nic Gairbheith said the crash has had a life-changing affect on her family.

Her daughter is in a wheelchair and is paralysed form the chest down.

William Barr told the court that the last thing he remembers is passing a bar known as McGeadys.

He said he spent 18 days in hospital and the entire episode was like a dream to him.

One of the first people on the scene was James McAllister –a fire station commander with the Northern Ireland Fire Service in Bangor, Co Down.

When he found Mrs Barr she was still alive but died a short time later at the scene.

Mr McAllister was asked by Coroner John Cannon if he would recommend that a fire extinguisher would have helped at the scene.

However he said he thought the use of a fire extinguisher by an untrained member of the public would have caused more problems.

Dr Katriona Dillon said that she carried out an examination of Mrs Barr’s body and said she was heavily bruised.

She also had injuries to her legs, arms and chest.

Dr Dillon said the cause of death was due to multiple injuries sustained in road accident.

She added that Mrs Barr was in good health considering her age and would have lived for many years but for the tragic accident.

Garda Niall Maguire of Falcarragh Garda station said the road conditions were good and that both cars were in good, road-worthy condition.

He added that as a result of an investigation that speed was not an issue in the accident.

The jury returned a verdict that death was due to injuries sustained form a road traffic accident.

They also suggested that additional road signage should be erected at the scene of the crash.

Coroner Cannon said to date this year there have been 96 deaths on Irish roads.

“Today’s inquest shows that speed is not always a factor and it shows the inherent danger on our roads,” he said.

 

Ends

 


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