Boy in car as it reversed over tragic grandmother
A SIX-YEAR-OLD boy was in the front seat of his grandmother's car when it reversed with the hand-brake off and knocked over and killed his granny.
At the Co Clare Coroner's court yesterday, a jury returned a verdict of accidental death on the accident that claimed the life of retired Ennis publican Josephine Lucas.
County coroner Isobel O'Dea told the inquest that Mrs Lucas's death was as a result of a "freak accident". She said: "It was a dreadful accident and goes beyond words what it is like for the Lucas family."
Mrs Lucas (74) was on a shopping trip with her two grandchildren when the accident occurred at 1.30pm on a Sunday lunchtime, February 23 last. Mrs Lucas's five-year-old granddaughter was standing nearby when her granny was knocked over.
One of those early on the scene was Anthony O'Keeffe who was travelling with his mother by car into Ennis.
In his deposition, Mr O'Keeffe described how he saw a person standing at the open boot of a silver Mazda and saw the car knock and roll over that person.
He said that the car continued to reverse over the woman, raising up as it went over her body.
"Once the car went over her, it continued reversing at top speed, it was going kind of fast," he said.
"I got out of our car and tried to stop this car. I ran towards the car and opened the door. Her grandson was in the passenger seat and leaning over the centre console reaching for the keys. The keys were in the ignition, I was 90pc sure that the engine was on."
Mr O'Keeffe said that the emergency services were called and that a woman was already cradling Mrs Lucas on the ground.
The first person to go to Mrs Lucas was Mairead Doohan.
Ms Doohan said: "I saw a little girl sitting on the footpath and heard someone say 'where is your mammy?'."
Ms Doohan went over to Mrs Lucas and put her in the recovery position, but could not find a pulse.
Efforts were made to resuscitate Mrs Lucas but she was pronounced dead at 2.25pm.
Garda Niall Cosgrove said that when he arrived, the car's engine was "still running and the hand-brake was off".
Garda Bernard Condon said the car was in excellent condition. Gda Condon later carried out a test whereby the vehicle's transmission was placed in the reverse position.
He said: "The car's park brake was released and an attempt was made to start the ignition without putting a foot on the clutch. The result of this was the car moved backwards quickly, the engine started and it moved backwards."
The post-mortem report found Mrs Lucas died as a result of acute cardio respiratory failure secondary to multiple traumatic chest injuries consistent with a road traffic accident.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, following advice from the coroner.