A driver was speeding at 165kph when he crashed into the side of a car being driven by 18-year-old motorist who died instantly, an inquest has heard.

Shane Patton suffered catastrophic brain injuries when he was struck by a car being driven by Eamon Lynch in Drumkeen in July 2012.

A subsequent court case heard how Lynch, of Glentane Manor, Letterkenny, had almost 500 previous criminal convictions before the crash.

The late Mr Patton’s parents, Julie and Martin Patton, of Drumkeen, attended the inquest at Letterkenny Courthouse today where they heard about the last moments of their son’s life.

The court heard how Shane had emerged from a side road onto the N13 at Drumkeen just before midnight on July 11th.

As he crossed the road in his Volkswagon Bora car, he was struck from the side by Lynch in his 1995 Toyota Celica car.

Shane’s car was sent 70 yards down the road following the impact and he was killed instantly.

Eamonn Lynch appears in court. Pic by Northwest Newspix.

Lynch, who is originally from Derry, was driving from the direction of Ballybofey towards Letterkenny and was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital.

A blood sample taken by Gardai in the hospital showed that Lynch had been drinking while driving and had a blood alcohol level of 44 microgrammes per 100 millitres of blood.

Eye-witness John McGetigan, who was parked up at the crossroads when the accident happened.

He described how the Toyota Celica car caught fire and how he and others tried frantically to help.

Retired Garda Sgt John McFadden told how he had carried out a serious of ‘skid’ tests on the Toyota Celica car.

He estimated that the car was traveling at an average speed of 165kph (102 mph) on the road governed by a speed limit of 100kph when the impact occurred.

He added that the seat belt of both drivers were in the resting position which indicated they were not in use at the time fo the crash.

Pathologist Katrina Dillon said she examined the late Mr Patton and he had a number of fractures, abrasions as well as a severe brain injury.

She added that Shane, of Cloghroe, Drumkeen would have lost consciousness and died almost immediately as a result fo the crash.

She said that there were no drugs or alcohol in Shane’s system and that in her opinion death was due to multiple injuries caused as a result of a road traffic accident.

Coroner Dr Denis McCauley apologised to the Patton family for the delay in holding the inquest.

Barrister Patricia McCallum, on behalf of the Patton family, said she would like the inquest to reflect that the reason for the delay was because of criminal proceedings connected to the case which were finalised in 2017.

Dr McCauley added that there were also problems getting a draft deposition from Eamon Lynch in the case which delayed holding the inquest.

Garda Sgt Jim Collins added that there were attempts made to contact Lynch but that he was now across the border in Northern Ireland and they could not contact him.

Dr McCauley said he knows the Patton family personally and that Shane was a client of the practise he works in.

He said the speed of the car being driven by Lynch and also the fact that there was alcohol in his blood were factors but this was not a judgement.

He said that his findings were duty-bound by the Circuit Court decision of January 25th which found Lynch guilty of careless driving causing death and drink driving.

The Patton family declined to make a comment after the inquest.


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