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Drunk driver took keys back before car smash

A coroner has declared that young people might learn a lesson from the death of a young woman who drove while intoxicated.

The inquest was told that Susan Reilly (24) had been drinking pints of Budweiser, and "probably a few shots" for several hours before setting out to drive home.

A man grabbed the key from the ignition of her car outside the pub and ran away, but Ms Reilly chased him, got the keys and drove off, said her cousin.

Dublin County Coroner's Court was told that Ms Reilly, of Kilcraigue, Kilcloon, Co Meath, died from a fractured skull and extensive brain damage three days after she lost control of her father's car and crashed in July last year.


Her cousin, Rachel Plunkett, of Cherryfield Lawn, Hartstown, Dublin, said that she travelled with Ms Reilly towards Shanksmare Pub, outside Summerhill, Co Meath, on July 17.

She said they both were drinking about two pints of Budweiser every hour, "and probably a few shots as well" between 9pm and 2am.

She said her cousin ran after a man who had grabbed the keys from the car ignition in the pub car park.

When Ms Reilly got the keys back, they drove off. Ms Plunkett said the car later appeared to veer off the road and struck a ditch.

Ms Plunkett told the inquest they had made the same journey by car from the pub on a number of occasions. She said Ms Reilly drove because there were no taxis around.

Garda Graham Loftus, of Trim Garda Station, said the road was wet but not dangerous. There was a slight bend at the scene of the accident.

The two front tyres of the car were "worn to the wire".

The jury accepted the evidence that death was due to a fractured skull and brain damage. The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

Dublin County Coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty said it was very sad that another very young person was involved in an alcohol-related casualty.

"I hope young people will learn a lesson from this," he said.