A 12-year-old boy took his mother’s car while his family were sleeping and was fatally injured when the vehicle veered into the path of an articulated truck, Limerick Coroner’s Court has heard.
A verdict of accidental death was recorded at the inquest into the death of Wiktor Chojecki in the crash near Adare at about 2am on February 11th of last year.
The boy, who was originally from Poland but living in Newcastle West, took the Nissan Qashqai unbeknown to his mother on the night, the court heard.
Footage taken from a dash cam mounted on the front of the truck showed the car travelling across the road and straight into the path of truck driver Marek Spocinski, who was not injured but was left severely shaken by the incident. The inquest heard Mr Spocinski was not at fault and had no chance of avoiding the oncoming car.
‘Hit me straight on’
In a deposition read out on his behalf, Mr Spocinski said the Nissan Qashqai “turned right into my path”. He said he “hit the brakes but [the car] hit me straight on”.
He said he exited the truck and went looking for the car as “I thought it was under my truck”. Another motorist stopped at the scene, checked the car and advised Mr Spocinski not to look into the Qashqai.
Paramedics arrived within seven minutes of receiving an emergency call but Wiktor Chojecki was pronounced dead at the scene.
Coroner John McNamara said a Garda forensic examination of the vehicles and the scene found “no evidence of any technical faults that might have contributed to the collision”. The speed the car was travelling at before the collision could not be determined, the investigation found.
In a deposition, Ewa Chojecka, the boy’s mother, said that a few hours before the crash she had driven relatives to the airport after they visited from Poland to gather to remember her brother, who had died three months earlier.
Ms Chojecka said she was “tired” after returning home and went to bed at about 10.30pm. She said she told her son not to play his video games late as it was a school night. She said he had been in good form that day after getting a “new haircut”.
She said she woke at about 4am when gardaí called to the family’s home to inform her son had been involved in a serious road crash.
Consultant pathologist Dr Teresa Laszlo told the inquest that she performed a “limited postmortem” on the boy, who suffered multiple traumatic injuries, complete fractures and lacerations. She determined that the cause of death was “polytrauma consistent with a road traffic collision”.
Mr McNamara said there was “no evidence to suggest the incident was an intentional act on Wiktor’s behalf” and that “he may have fallen asleep at the wheel”.
“He took the car out late at night, unfortunately, and it was a terrible, tragic accident,” he said, as he extended his sympathies to the boy’s parents.