Elderly patient hit by car outside hospital was tossed in air ‘like bowling pin’

Man left hospital to get an ice cream

An elderly patient who left hospital to get ice cream was “thrown into the air like a bowling pin” after he was struck by a vehicle and killed while crossing the road, a court has heard.

Michael Doran (69) was using a wheelchair as a walking aid when he left University Hospital Limerick to visit the local Supermacs outlet.

The incident occurred shortly after 7.30pm on St Stephen’s Day, 2011. A witness to the crash has described how he frantically tried to wave down the driver of the car which struck the widower from Templemore.

Witness Harry Beegan told Limerick Circuit Court he went onto the road to flag down the motorist as he was concerned at the slow pace at which Mr Doran was crossing the road.

The driver of the car, William McDermott (72), of Adare, Co Limerick, denies dangerous driving causing the death of the widower at St Nessan's Road, Dooradoyle, Limerick, on December 26th, 2011.

In his evidence Mr Beegan, who works for Irish Rail, told the jury he was "frantic" with his hand movements, which he compared to gestures he would use at work.

His wife Gillian recalled how her husband jumped out of the way when he realised the motorist wasn’t going to stop. He described Mr Doran being “thrown into the air like a bowling pin” and said he somersaulted before hitting the ground.

Another motorist, Peader Henehan, described arriving on the scene and seeing an upturned wheelchair on the road and a man lying face down. His daughter, Leigh Ann Keane, a doctor in Australia, was travelling with him in the car at the time and offered the victim assistance at the scene.

Counsel for the State John O’Sullivan described the pensioner as “not just any pedestrian, but a pedestrian pushing a wheelchair in a built up area which was well lit”. He said it was not a case of the accused being intoxicated or grossly over the speed limit, but said he had been warned of the danger.

The trial continues today before Judge Carroll Moran.