independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Drink was factor in crash which killed two best friends

The vehicle involved in the accident on the Hartstown Road

The driver of a car that crashed into a tree, killing himself and a friend, had a 'significant' level of alcohol in his system an inquest has heard.

Simon Hand (24) from Pinebrook Glen, Huntstown, Dublin and Dean Cullen (21) from Mount Symon Green, Clonsilla, Dublin died on October 22 last year following the accident on the Hartstown Road in Dublin 15.

At the joint inquest into their deaths, Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Mr Hand, who was driving his girlfriend's car, had a "significant" amount of alcohol in his blood when he died.

The two men had spent the evening watching a match in the Clonsilla Inn and left the pub at closing time.

Shortly after 4am, two gardai in a patrol car driving from an estate onto the Hartstown Road saw a red BMW Mini Cooper passing by at speed.

Three minutes later they came across the same car crashed into a tree at the side of the road.

The impact of the accident had thrown the engine 60 feet from the car.

Garda Kirsten Somers said that when she went to check the car the two men were in "very unnatural positions" and the dashboard appeared to have come forward and in on top of them.

Firefighter Karl Toomey, who attended the scene, said the car looked like a "very badly damaged coke can".

Mr Cullen showed no signs of life and was pronounced dead at the scene. The post-mortem found that he had suffered major head injuries. Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said it appeared that he died instantly.

Mr Hand had a pulse and was transferred to Connolly Hospital where he died later that morning.

His post-mortem found that he died as a result of multiple injuries.

The toxicology report found that he had a blood alcohol level of 169mgs per cent at the time of his death.

Identifying risk factors for the accident, Dr Farrell noted that this was a "significant" level of alcohol.

Forensics collision investigator Sergeant Paul Kearney said that there was evidence of emergency braking possibly due to the driver losing control of the vehicle.

He calculated that the car was travelling at a minimum speed of 71kph when the impact happened. The speed limit on the stretch of road is 50kph.

The jury returned verdicts of death by misadventure for both men.

Gareth Naughton

(The Herald)

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