Saturday 19 October 2019

Verdict of accidental death in Carrigaphooka crash inquest

Speed not a factor in collision last April in which Denis Dineen (60) lost his life

A jury has returned a verdict of accidental death in the case of a former bus and truck driver who was killed when his car drifted across the road for no apparent reason and collided head on with another car on the main Cork-Killarney road, the N22 near Macroom.

Denis Dineen (60) of Schoenfels, Coolacullig, Coachford, Co Cork died from haemorrhage and shock with pnumothorax due to blunt force trauma to the thorax and abdomen following a road traffic collision on the N22 at Carrigaphooka, west of Macroom on April 27th 2018

Motorist, Gerard Spillane told how he was driving from Macroom towards Killarney in his wife's Hyundai shortly after 1pm when his wife, Ina said to watch out as an oncoming motorist was veering over on to his side of the road and the oncoming car clipped and damaged the wing mirror on the driver's side.

Mr Spillane said he was on his own side of the road at the time and when he looked back behind him in his rear view mirror, he didn't see the actual collision but he saw two cars, including the one that had damaged his wing mirror, crashed into the opposite side of the ditch.

"I expected to get out of my car to have an argument over my broken mirror but instead I found that two cars had been involved in a serious condition and both of the drivers had been hurt," Mr Spillane told the inquest at the South Cork Coroner's Court sitting in Macroom.

Witness, Tom Delahunty had been driving his BMW estate back home to Kenmare and he told how he remembered travelling along on his own side of the road and the next thing he could recall was waking up in Cork University Hospital a few days later.

Witness, Michael Coakley said he was driving out the Killarney Road from Macroom with his wife, Kay and their grandson when he observed a car coming against him and it had veered over on to his side of the road - ie the oncoming car's incorrect side - but it was not fully over on his side.

He looked in his rear mirror and he saw a car going up in the area and there was a puff of grey smoke. "It all happened in a flash - five seconds and it happened about 200 metres behind me," said Mr Coakley who confirmed to Mr Delahunty's solicitor, Aidan Judge that Mr Dineen's car was on its incorrect side.

PSV Insp Garda Tom Brosnan examined both Mr Delahunty's BMW Estate and Mr Dineen's Kia Sportage after the collision and he found that both were in roadworthy condition prior to the collision and he ruled out any mechanical failing as being responsible for the crash.

Garda Brian Hegarty, who investigated the collision, said that it happened some four miles west of Macroom at a gradual turning bend coming from Killarney and it appeared that Mr Dineen's car drifted over to its incorrect side on to the right rather than following the gradual bend to the left.

He said that weather conditions were good at the time and the road surface was dry and when he arrived at the scene at 1.20pm, he found both Mr Delahunty's BMW and Mr Dineen's Kia Sportage were both crashed into the ditch but at opposite sides of the road

Mr Dineen was being attended in his car by ambulance personnel but he looked unresponsive and Dr Jason Van Der Velde arrived at the scene to attend to the casualties and he pronounced Mr Dineen dead at 2.14pm while Mr Delahunty was airlifted by ambulance to Cork University Hospital.

Garda Hegarty gave details on a report he had received on the collision from Forensic Crash Investigator, Garda Conor McDermott who examined marks left on the road and with the use of a crane was able to place both cars at their point of impact on the roadway.

Garda McDermott had concluded that speed was not a factor in the collision in that both motorists were within the 80kph speed limit at the time of the collision and he concluded that driver error on the part of Mr Dineen appeared to be the factor which led to the collision.

Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster told how she had carried out an autopsy on Mr Dineen at CUH and found no traces of alcohol in his system but found evidence of severe thoracic and chest trauma with death being caused by haemorrhage and shock due to blunt force trauma. She said she found traces of Parkinson's Disease while Mr Dineen also had an enlarged heart but she could find no concrete pathological evidence of an acute medical event such as heart attack or a stroke which would have led to him losing control of the car and veering across on to his incorrect side.

Mr Dineen's widow, Catherine said that her husband had been diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2008 but he was managing it with medication, which was being monitored, and it had plateaued and he had been cleared by both a specialist and his own GP in February 2018 to continue driving.

"Denis was a superb driver - he was meticulous - he used to drive buses and then tankers for Dairygold so he was a very experienced driver and always very careful on the road," said Ms Dineen who wished Mr Delahunty well in his recovery from the very serious injuries that he suffered in the crash.

She also thanked the emergency services and all those who had assisted her late husband at the crash scene and she thanked Coroner for South Cork, Frank O'Connell for organizing the inquest so that she and her family could learn so much about her husband's last hours.

After the jury returned a verdict of accidental death, Mr O'Connell extended his sympathies to Ms Dineen and her family on their loss while condolences were expressed by Supt Joe Moore on behalf of An Garda Siochana while Mr Judge extended Mr Delahunty's sympathies to Ms Dineen on her loss.

IT was another historic occasion for Aghabullogue GAA club when its members officially opened their magnificent new astro turf facilities in front of a large attendance in Coachford last weekend.

Aghabullogue GAA club has a long and distinguished history, dating back to 1890, when the Mid-Cork club represented Cork to win the All-Ireland hurling title and in doing so became the first team from the rebel county to achieve such a feat with players drawn from their catchment area of Coachford, Rylane and Aghabullogue.

There can be no disputing the ambition and foresight of the current day club, the latest development impressed Cork GAA Chairperson Tracy Kennedy who congratulated Aghabullogue GAA on their vision, energy and commitment on completing state of the art facilities that will cater for football, hurling, ladies football and camogie.

"Facilities are vital to the continued health of any club in an age where players and supporters expect far more than was expected in years gone by, the key objective of all such developments must be to improve participation in our games and the performance of our teams and as a club and a community, its vital that this facility gets the use it deserves in order to have the desired effect," Ms Kennedy said.

Club Chairman Denis Ring paid tribute to the tireless fundraising efforts over the past number of years with various events, grant aided by the local community along with much appreciated business donations have helped complete a number of projects.

"The total cost of the Astro Turf project was €360,000, financed by €120,000 from the Irish Sports Council capital program in addition to 160 loans of €1,000 from club members to be repaid over the next ten years. We are extremely indebted to the terrific support and thanks also to additional funding received from Cork County Council and Munster GAA Council," he said.

"We would like to express our deep gratitude to everybody involved on delivering this state of the art infrastructure, adding to a number of other developments over the years, it represents a bright future for the club," said Denis.

The project completed by Kelly Sportsfield Construction and Maintenance from Ballydesmond was officially opened by Tracey Kennedy in the presence of Minister Michael Creed ,TD.

Evelyn Tarrant chairperson Aghabullogue camogie club, Pearce Murphy, Treasurer, Munster GAA Council, provincial delegates Ger Lane and Michael Byrne; Richard Murphy, Cultural Officer, Cork GAA and Pat Malone, Chairman, Muskerry GAA.

Up to 300 patrons, supporters and public representatives in attendance were welcomed by MC Martin Corkery.

To mark the occasion, the U8 hurling and camogie teams of Aghabullogue played a match to mark the official opening of the pitch. The facility was blessed by Fr Peadar Murphy P.P. Aghabullogue and once the formalities were completed, refreshments were served in the adjacent GAA Hall.