Car traveling at 121kph before crash which killed two friends, inquest hears

June 29, 2022

A car in which two people died in a horrific road crash in Bundoran was traveling at a speed of 121kph, an inquest has heard.

The inquests into the deaths of Shiva Devine and Conall McAleer took place at Donegal Town Courthouse today.

Both were both 20 when they died in the crash at East End, Bundoran.

Ms Devine, who lived in Belleek in Fermanagh but was originally from Donegal Town and Mr McAleer who was from Kesh, Co Fermanagh were both pronounced dead at the scene of the crash in the early hours of 19th August 2018.

Both victims had been socialising on the night of the 18th of August with friends, first in Fermanagh and later in Bundoran.

They were leaving Bundoran after 3am when the car, driven by Joseph Gilroy from Lisnaskea, crashed. Mr Gilroy later pleaded guilty to a number of charges including dangerous driving causing the deaths of Ms Devine and Mr McAleer.

There were 6 people in the Peugeot 306 at the time of the crash. At the start of the inquest Coroner, Dr Denis McCauley, said that two of the people in the car, Conor Brennan who owned the vehicle and his brother Tristan, had been asked to attend but, he said, they were in another jurisdiction and had decided not to. This was regrettable, the coroner said.

Joseph Gilroy who was jailed following the tragedy. (North West Newspix)

The other survivor of the crash, Rachel Elliott, whose spine was crushed in the collision, and has been in a wheelchair since, gave evidence.

Ms Eliott said that she had no recollection of leaving Bundoran that night, the first thing she remembers was waking up in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin ten days later. Four days after that she said she was told that Shiva and Conall had died, and she was devastated.

Robert Kealy who was living near the scene of the crash at the time said he was awoken by a noise.

He went outside where he saw four bodies on the road and tried to help them.

Another man, Paddy Bond also came on the scene and tried to help. Both men had first responder training and assisted the emergency services when they arrived.

Coroner Dr McCauley said they did their best to give the deceased the best chance of survival but unfortunately their extensive brain injuries dictated this was not to be.

Rachel Elliott at today’s inquests. Pic by Northwest Newspix.

Dr McCauley said that death was due to extensive brain injuries but he said a higher court has decided in the case and he would not add to that.

Last year Joseph Gilroy, then 23 was jailed for five years and three months at donegal circuit court after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death.

The coroner said this was a devastating crash in many ways, two families had lost their two twenty year old children and a young lady was permanently injured.

Speed was a big factor in the crash, he said. The car was overloaded with four people in the back of it who could not wear seat belts. It was an incredibly devastating chain of events, Dr McCauley.

He said he could not begin to imagine how the families felt after this horrendous event which they have to live with but he wanted them to know that their loved ones would not have been conscious following the impact even though there had been evidence of some responsiveness by witnesses who had tried to help them.