A FATHER has told of how he screamed to a refuse lorry driver to "stop" as he watched his toddler son being crushed to death.
Patrick McDonagh, a twin who was three years old, died when he became trapped beneath the lorry after running for a tennis ball.
Alex McDaid (61), who was driving the lorry, appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court charged with dangerous driving causing death and also of driving without a valid driving licence. He denies the charges.
The boy's father, Patrick McDonagh Snr, told yesterday's hearing of the last horrifying moments of his son's life outside the family home in Letterkenny on February 16, 2010.
He told how Patrick Jnr and his twin sister Megan had been playing with a tennis ball seconds before the accident.
The family's dog had taken the ball and Mr McDonagh had taken it and given it back to little Patrick. The ball then rolled down a hill as Mr McDonagh roared at his son to stop.
"I ran down after him and I was roaring for the driver to stop," he said. "He was bending down to pick up the ball and he was hit by the step at the back of the lorry and the lorry went over him. It happened in seconds but it felt like minutes."
Mr McDaid, of Bomany, Letterkenny, wiped away tears as he sat in court listening to the evidence of Mr McDonagh.
The dead boy's mother, Shirley, told the court she heard her husband shouting "stop, stop". She ran outside and told of how she saw the twin wheels of the back of the truck roll over her son.
"Patrick was lying on the ground. I picked him up. Patrick was gasping for air. I ran down the street and the ambulance came," she said.
The ambulance rushed Shirley and Patrick Jnr to Letterkenny General Hospital but the court heard the little boy died a short time later from massive head injuries.
Some photographs taken at the scene were held back from the jury because of their graphic nature. The court heard that blood and bone fragments were found at the scene.
Tomasz Duraj, who was working at the back of the Ferry's Refuse truck, revealed how he was standing on the rear right-hand side of the lorry when the accident happened.
The Polish national said there was nothing to alert him to any danger. He said because of the noise from the lorry he only realised what had happened when Mr McDaid turned off the engine.
Cherie Young, a neighbour of the McDonagh family, said she did not see the accident but saw Mrs McDonagh cradling her child minutes after the tragedy. "It just seemed like a freak accident," she said.
The trial continues today.