Driver was on phone to brother when he crashed and died
Published 22/12/2010 | 05:00
THE risks taken when driving while using a mobile phone were highlighted at an inquest into the death of a man whose car went out of control and hit a tree.
Paul Gerard Monks (33), pictured, died of multiple injuries on July 19 this year after his Mitsubishi Pajero careered off the road into a ditch on Lyons Road, Co Dublin.
His brother Dwayne Monks was having a brief chat with Paul when he heard him say, "Oh Jesus, Dwayne".
"I knew something was wrong. I could hear the fear in his voice," Dwayne Monks told an inquest yesterday.
The phone conversation between the brothers lasted just 44 seconds, Dublin County Coroner's Court heard.
Mr Monks was not using a hands-free kit. He was not wearing a seatbelt and the driver's airbag did not deploy.
Scenes of collision investigator, Garda Tony Kelly, found that: "significant contributory factor was driver error probably caused by driver inattention or distraction."
There was no emergency braking or steering prior to the impact with the tree.
"We've heard evidence Paul Monks was using a mobile phone at the time of the accident," said coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty.
"This is a tragic death of a young man. It highlights the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving," he said.
The coroner also warned people of the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt.
A jury of six women returned a verdict of death by misadventure under the direction of the coroner.
The vehicle was in good roadworthy condition prior to the incident. A former nurse, Margaret Harris, had left her house by just a few minutes when she came upon the accident shortly after 11.00am on July 19. She went to Mr Monks's assistance, but found no signs of life.
Paramedic Ann McDermott told the inquest Mr Monks, who was slumped in the driver's seat, had no pulse. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
He was removed to Tallaght Hospital by ambulance where his father Gerard Monks identified the body.
A post mortem found he died of multiple trauma-related injuries due to a road traffic collision.
The coroner told his parents and other family members present at the inquest that it was likely Paul was rendered unconscious immediately.