September 20, 2012

The sister-in-law of leading Donegal county councillor Terence Slowey was almost killed by a drunk driver who later died along with his passenger in a horrific crash, an inquest heard yesterday.

The driver of the car which caused the two-car collision was four and a half times over the drink driving limit.

Serejus Pridyvus (31) of 4 Lawnsdale, Letterkenny and his passenger, Vaidas Aucius (39) of 43 Lawnsdale, Ballybofey died when the Audi A4 they were travelling in collided with another car on the N15 between Ballybofey and Killygordon on November 23rd, 2009.

Mrs Bernadette Slowey and her husband, Lawrence, a brother of county councillor Terence Slowey, were travelling towards Ballybofey when the Audi collided with their Opel Astra. Mrs. Slowey suffered serious injuries and had to have surgery for internal injuries.

Mr. Slowey, from Ardara, told coroner Denis McCauley that the red Audi seemed to straighten up as it approached them and then lost control.

He said he could do nothing to avoid the car and they hit the side of it. The Audi was thrown up onto an embankment by the collision which resulted in serious damage to both cars.

Mr. Slowey said his wife said almost died as a result of the accident and is still suffering from it. Mr. Slowey received more minor injuries including fractured ribs.

Mr. Auciu’s widow, Liama, told the court that she and her husband and their two children had moved to Ireland from Lithuania five years before the accident. He had been friendly with Mr. Pridyvus for three years.

Garda accident investigator Sgt. John McFadden said the accident occurred on a bend with a speed limit of 100kmph.

He said there had to be a considerable amount of speed involved for the Audi to sustain the extensive damage that it did and to be thrown up on the embankment.

Pathologist Dr. Gerry O’Dowd said Mr. Aucius died from multiple injuries sustained in a road traffic accident while Mr. Pridyvus died from serious head injuries.

He said Mr. Pridyvus had an alcohol level of 374 mg, which would leave a person close to stupor.

The jury recorded a verdict of accidental death in the case of Mr. Aucius and death by misadventure in the case of Mr. Pridyvus.