Saturday 21 April 2018

No formal investigation conducted into crash that killed well-known race medic

"It’s a race track. The rules of the road do not apply"

The late Dr. John Hinds
The late Dr. John Hinds

Louise Roseingrave

There was no formal investigation of a catastrophic crash that claimed the life of a loved and respected rapid response medic killed on duty.

Dr John Hinds (35) was volunteering for the Motorcycle Union of Ireland (MCUI), providing rapid response medical aid at a practice session for the Skerries 100 Road Race when the crash occurred on July 3 2015.

He died at Beaumont Hospital the following day. The incident was not forensically investigated because the road was the subject of a road closure order for the race event by Fingal County Council, an inquest heard.

The lead medic for the event, Dr Hinds was fatally injured in a collision with a pole after the rear wheel of his 1,000 CC BMW motorcycle lost traction with the road on a right hand bend. As Dr Hinds attempted to regain control the bike went into a ‘tank slap,’ meaning the handlebars began to shake vigorously.

Dr Hinds’ right foot lost contact with the pedal and witnesses said he appeared to make the decision to separate himself from the bike. The motorcycle slid ahead of him at speed and hit and dislodged a protective barrier.

Dr Hinds slid forward and hit a pole before coming to rest in a stony ditch near Baldongan on the 3.4km long course in north County Dublin.

Photographer Peter John Leverton said Dr Hinds was travelling between six and ten seconds behind the practice session.

“The bike went into a violent tank slap and Dr Hinds appeared to be picking his exit spot and kicking the bike away. He slid into a farm entrance,” Mr Leverton said.

Eyewitness Peter Galbraith said pieces of Mr Hinds medical kit flew past his head as Dr Hinds separated from the bike and collided with a pole. The race medical team and ambulances were on the scene within sixty seconds and he was rushed to Beaumont hospital.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard there was no formal forensic collision investigation as the road was the subject of a road closure order.

“For all intents and purposes its a private place, it’s a race track. The rules of the road do not apply,” Garda Robert O’Rourke said.

President of Motor Cycling Ireland Sean Bisset said formal garda investigations had happened at race events in the past but not on this occasion. There was no investigation of the motorcycle at the scene before it was moved, the court heard. Volunteer technical steward scrutineer Sarah Roebuck examined the motorcycle and found a defect on the rear brake pad but she could not say whether this was present before the accident.

Medics battled to save their colleague Dr Hinds, who worked as an anaesthetist at Craigavon Hospital in Co Armagh, but he died the following day. The cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries due to a road traffic collision. The jury returned a verdict of misadventure and recommended that where a road closure order is in place, forensic investigations should be completed by Gardai. The family thanked medical teams who attended Dr Hinds at the scene and in hospital.

"Please accept our thanks and gratitude for the care, consideration and respect you showed to our beloved John. We are eternally grateful for your deep compassion and commitment," the family said in a statement.

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