Car driven by boy killed in Co Mayo crash was ‘defective’, inquest hears

Morgan Pinder (13) died after crashing 1994-registered Audi on Clare Island

Morgan Pinder (13) who was killed after the car he was driving struck a ditch on Clare Island in Co Mayo.

Morgan Pinder (13) who was killed after the car he was driving struck a ditch on Clare Island in Co Mayo.

 

The car being driven by a 13-year-old boy when he crashed and died on Clare Island, Co Mayo, last August was “dangerously defective”, an inquest has heard.

Sergeant Gabriel McLoughlin told the hearing in Castlebar the car driven by Morgan Pinder from Gurteen, Clare Island, had corroded, grooved and worn brake pads and discs.

The vehicle – a 1994-registered Audi 80 – was a “danger to the public” when in motion, said Sgt McLoughlin, the Garda public service vehicle inspector for Mayo.

However, he said that while the vehicle was in a dangerously defective conditio, the boy may not have been aware of the defects while driving.

The Coroner for Mayo, Patrick O’Connor, was told the vehicle was registered to a priest – deceased at the time – who used to minister on the island.

Emergency services, including gardaí, lifeboat members and members of fire personnel from Achill Island went to the island after the alarm had been raised following the crash in the early hours of August 5th, 2018.

Garda Keith Deane told the inquest the driver, who was unaccompanied, was trapped under the vehicle a when he arrived at the scene. There was no lighting on the stretch of road where the incident occurred, he said.

“Some earth had been disturbed on the ditch on the right hand side of the road which would appear to be the first point of impact of the vehicle,” he told the inquest.

The boy’s mother, Maureen Pinder, was the last person to see him before the crash.

In a deposition to gardaí that was read to the inquest, Mrs Pinder said she was at the island’s community centre at a birthday party for her sister Martina, when Mogran came up to her at about 12.50am. He asked her if he could go up to the hotel as his brother had gone up earlier, she said.

“I said it was too late and he should go home,” her statement continued. “I saw Morgan buying a can of coke and heading out the door.”

Dr Tamas Nemeth, consultant pathologist at Mayo University Hospital, told the hearing the cause of death was traumatic asphyxia due to lung haemorrhage and crushing force of the chest.

Severe contributory factors, he added, were the multiple fractures of the skull with brain contusion.

After considering the case for 20 minutes, the inquest jury returned a verdict of misadventure.

Coroner O’Connor expressed his deepest sympathy to the Pinder family and wider Clare Island community on the “tragic and traumatic” loss of a boy in the first few months of his teenage years.

The coroner said he was sure the island community would learn lessons from what had happened.

He was joined in the expressions of sympathy by Sergeant Regina Carley, on behalf of An Garda Síochána, and by Micheal Keane, foreman of the inquest jury.