Fatal crash driver tried to elude gardaí


A VERDICT of misadventure was returned at the inquest into the death of a man whose car crashed as he tried to get away from gardaí.

His brother, a passenger in the car, said they would have stopped but they thought it was other Travellers who wanted “to do us harm”, the inquest heard.

Daniel Connors (21), Parkside, Portadown, Co Armagh, died two days after he crashed into another car on the Newry Road, Dundalk, on June 16th, 2010.

The inquest also heard that the incident was investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, which sent a file to the DPP who directed no prosecution be taken.

Commission lead investigator Johan Groenewald told the inquest that all of the allegations from the Connors family “were fully investigated and were disproved.”

Dundalk Coroner’s Court heard that his car – a Vauxhall Cavalier – crashed into the side of a car driven by a learner and her instructor as she was taking a legal right turn. Mr Connors had just passed a traffic island on the wrong side of the road and had been driving at speed and dangerously around Dundalk in the lead-up to the crash. Gardaí had been on the alert after a series of burglaries and, on the day in question, had been advised to watch for the car driven by Mr Connors.

It was, the inquest heard, suspected of being involved in the ramming of a PSNI car earlier that day and the driver was wanted in connection with a burglary in the North the previous week.

Garda cars were trying to stop the car by boxing it in, the inquest heard. One was an unmarked Ford Mondeo which was rammed a number of times by the Cavalier.

Michael Connors, a passenger, said his brother was bringing the car into Dundalk to sell it. He said “the Mondeo was pursuing us and we thought it was Travellers who wanted to do us harm”.

Driving instructor Janine McMahon said she was giving a lesson in a Ford Fiesta and the learner was undertaking a proper right turn when there was “a loud bang and the car went into a spin”.

The Cavalier became airborne and landed in a garden; its roof was crushed in and the driver died from his injuries two days later.