Farmer (78) thrown from 'defective' tractor on bend
A late Dromore West farmer was thrown from his tractor into a field after crashing off a sharp bend on a narrow boreen.
Sligo Coroner's Court last week held an inquest into the sudden death of 78-year-old Robert 'Sonny' Kilgannon of Tawnaghmore, Culleens, Dromore West on 8th July 2017.
Coroner Eamon McGowan heard Garda Hugh McCann read out a deposition from his widow, Mrs Judy Kilgannon.
In it she said her late husband Sonny was only home from hospital three weeks at the time of his death - he had spent over a month in hospital after having had two heart attacks.
The court heard Sonny left his house around 9am in his Massey Ferguson and drove to visit his sister nearby. At 1pm Mrs Kilgannon got a call from her sister-in-law to say there had been an accident. She ran to the scene and saw Sonny lying in the field, still conscious. He asked to sit up and straighten his leg but lost consciousness soon after.
Garda Cian Finan attended the scene and found Sonny lying on his back covered with a blanket. He was pronounced dead at the scene by a local doctor and removed to the morgue at Sligo University Hospital.
He told the coroner that the "very narrow" road was "gravel more than tarmacadam".
Garda Niall O'Connor who was also at the scene said that the tractor "failed to round a 90 degree bend." Sonny's sister thought his tractor sounded "out of gear," he said.
Forensic Collision Investigator Garda Hugh McCann concluded the tractor had left the road, overturned completely on a steep embankment, threw the farmer out into the field in the process, and landed the right way up.
He said the tractor's steering and right hand brake were "defective" and the road was "in a very poor condition." "These may have contributed to this collision," he said.
Dr Paul Hartel, who performed the autopsy, said three out of Sonny's four main arteries in his heart were "completely blocked".
He said there was evidence of previous injury to his heart and a lack of blood flow to his heart some 0-4 hours prior to death.
"It appears Robert Kilgannon had some sort of cardiac event that cased him to lose control of the vehicle...or he could have lost control of the vehicle and the shock of that could have caused the heart attack," he told the court.
"Whether it happened prior, during or after we don't know," he said, adding that the cause of death was "severe coronary heart disease".
"The accident contributed to that in some way," he added.
A jury of six men and one woman returned a narrative verdict, that "Robert Kilgannon died on 8th July 2017 as a result of severe coronary heart disease in conjunction with a road traffic accident while driving a tractor."
Coroner McGowan, members of the Garda and Dr Hartel extended sympathies to his widow Mrs Judy Kilgannon and several family members present.