Man ‘trying to stop traffic’ on motorway when struck and killed

Car was travelling at almost 80kmh and man was propelled 33m from point of impact

The cause of Geoffrey Melia’s death was multiple traumatic injuries following a road traffic collision, according to an autopsy. A toxicology report found evidence of cocaine and cannabis in his system. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The cause of Geoffrey Melia’s death was multiple traumatic injuries following a road traffic collision, according to an autopsy. A toxicology report found evidence of cocaine and cannabis in his system. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

A man who died after he was struck by a car on a motorway appeared to be attempting to stop traffic at the time, a Coroner’s Court was told on Wednesday.

A motorist swerved to avoid Geoffrey Melia (25), from Abbeylea Green in Swords, Co Dublin, on the N2 near Finglas on April 16th, 2016.

Driver Bill Blackmore described seeing Mr Melia standing facing traffic “in the middle of the road” on the city-bound carriageway between Junction 1 and 2 shortly before 2.50am.

“I only saw him at the last minute. He was facing me, he had his hands out like he was trying to stop traffic. I swerved to avoid him . . . I stopped and went back to see if he was okay but at that stage it was too late,” Mr Blackmore said.

Motorist Tony Manning was on his way to Connolly Hospital when the car he was driving struck Mr Melia.

“I only saw him at the point of impact, my car hit him on the passenger side. There wasn’t a thing I could do, it happened that quick . . . I didn’t have a chance to hit the brakes,” he said.

Forensic collision investigator Sgt Damien Mangan told Dublin Coroner’s Court the pedestrian was struck on the left side of his body and appeared to be in a crouched position when he was struck.

Insufficient time

The car was travelling in the fast lane at almost 80kmh (in 120kmh zone) and the pedestrian was propelled 33m from the point of impact. Mr Manning did not have sufficient time to react, Sgt Mangan said. Gardaí submitted a file to the DPP but no prosecution was directed.

Investigating Mr Melia’s movements leading up to the collision, Sgt Mangan said he had been with a friend, Billy Dooley, at a yard nearby up until 2.30am.

A taxi driver had been called to help the two men to try to remove a car from a ditch in the yard.

“I tried to help them get the car out. Geoff was flying in and out around the place. It was as if Geoff and Billy were on another planet, they had definitely taken some kind of drugs,” taxi driver Alan Byrne said. CCTV footage captured a last sighting of Mr Melia at a barrier in the yard at 2.30am.

“He said something about getting a chain or a rope and he went under a barrier and disappeared, I never saw him again,” the taxi driver said.

Almost instant death

Mr Melia may have crossed two fields in order to gain access to the motorway from the yard, Sgt Mangan said. He was fatally struck at 2.48am and died almost instantly, the court heard.

The cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries following a road traffic collision, according to an autopsy. A toxicology report found evidence of cocaine and cannabis in his system.

The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure and recommended that road lighting be re-examined by the relevant authorities at this point on the N2 motorway.