Car drove over boy (15) with toxic alcohol levels lying on road, inquest hears
Driver tells of shock on returning to scene in Co Clare after car felt a ‘bump’
The pathologist told Kevin Donnellan’s parents that he wasn’t conscious at the time of impact ‘and he would not have suffered at all’
A motorist has spoken of discovering that the object that she had just driven over was a 15-year-old boy, who was lying comatose on a country road with toxic levels of alcohol in his blood.
At the Coroner’s Court in Ennis on Wednesday, Christine Flynn, a hotel receptionist at the Trump Doonbeg resort, said she returned to the scene on the dark November morning where her car had felt ‘a bump’.
She recalled saying ‘oh God’ to herself when she saw the cupped hands of Kevin Donnellan that confirmed to her it was a body.
She said: “Prior to this, I didn’t know before if it was a mannequin or a prank as it was Halloween.”
Ms Flynn phoned emergency services at 6.38am on November 1st and performed CPR on Kevin for 15 minutes before the paramedics arrived.
The youngest of three children, Kevin of Ballycurrane, Knock, west Clare was later declared dead at the scene near Burrane school at Killimer.
Felt a bump
Ms Flynn, who wept in the witness box, said that seconds before impact, she saw an object on the road that she thought it was loose farmer’s silage wrapping.
She said after driving over the object, “I felt something in the car like a bump ”.
Ms Flynn drove on to crossroads but decided to return. “I had a feeling that I had to go back and check”.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death. Insp Paul Slattery said a lesser person would not have stopped, or called emergency services or performed CPR. “You are a very brave lady,” he said.
A postmortem by Asst State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster found Kevin had toxic levels of alcohol in his blood.
She found that Kevin had, prior to the the car rolling over him, suffered an acute brain injury and skull fracture as a result of a fall to the ground and that walking while inebriated was a contributory factor to this.
Dr Bolster said he died as a result of blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen from a car rolling over him while lying in a comatose state on the road.
She told his parents at the inquest that he wasn’t conscious at the time of impact “and he would not have suffered at all”.
A teenage friend of Kevin’s also gave evidence that Kevin left his home at 1.30am and they drank alcohol in the grounds of Burrane school.
He said that Kevin brought a half full litre bottle of vodka along with two naggins of Vodka and two hip flasks. He said they “were both very drunk.”
At about 2.30am they left the school for the local ferry port at Killimer which was Kevin’s favourite place.
Too drunk to cycle
“We were too drunk to cycle. We were very bad. The drink started to kick in around this stage…I know the walk to the ferry took a long time. We were staggering along the way.”
The friend said that after 3am, “I passed out from drink at that stage. I had never drank that much before. I don’t remember anything else until I woke up. I thought Kevin had gone home. I looked for him and there was no sign of him anywhere.”
He said: “I got in some time after 6.30am. My parents did not know where I was all night.”
In her findings, Dr Bolster said that she understood that Kevin was not a regular drinker but that the effect of drinking on the night would have been significant on him due to his young age. Kevin is survived by mother, Ann-Marie, father, Joseph and brother, Colin and sister, Kirstie.