Wednesday 29 March 2017

Inquest hears of Ballybeg, Buttevant truck crash horror


THE jury at an inquest into the death of a Dripsey resident in a road traffic accident near Buttevant has recommend changes to the way large loads are transported on Irish roads.

Neil Orchard died instantly after his Toyota Landcruiser collided with an articulated lorry carrying large wind turbine components at Ballybeg, Buttevant, at approximately 6.15am on the morning of October 18, 2009.

The inquest heard that the 34-year-old had been driving in the direction of Buttevant when he collided with the lorry, one of two large trucks in a convoy of four vehicles that included two safety cars, at Ballybeg.

Another motorist, David Dalton, who had been travelling in the same direction as Mr Orchard prior to the collision, said that as he approached the convoy at a bend the rear end of the first lorry was on the incorrect side of the road, forcing him to drive close to the ditch to avoid a collision. He also said the headlights of the lorry appeared to very bright as he passed it.

Garda Sgt Denis O'Shea gave evidence of inspecting the headlamps of the Danish registered left hand drive lorry and found they were not set correctly for a vehicle driving on the right hand side of the road.

A garda PSV inspector subsequently drove the vehicle along the road at Ballybeg and found that it was not possible to fully retain the rear of the vehicle within its own lane while negotiating the bend where the collision occurred.

Superintendent McCarthy told the inquest that the driver of the lorry subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving at Cork Circuit Court and was fined €1,000.

Solicitor Cliona Kenny, acting on behalf of Mr Orchard's family, suggested that the jury might recommend that in the future certain roads be closed off to accommodate large loads and that convoys be given a garda escort.

In delivering their verict, the jury recommended that companies should undertake route assessments and that oversized loads should be accompanied by a garda escort and road closures be in place along dangerous stretches of their route.

The jury also recommended that foreign registered lorries be obliged to adjust their headlamps on entering the country and prove to gardai that they have done so.

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