Heartbroken mother tells of finding son (14) dead under family car

Jamie Doherty was found dead on a bog road in Co Donegal in June 2018

Jamie Doherty

A heartbroken mother has told how she found her 14-year-old son dead under a car after he took it for a drive.

At his inquest at Letterkenny Court, Evelyn Doherty relived the moments when she found her “best friend” and eldest son Jamie dead on a bog road in Co Donegal on June 18th, 2018.

Evelyn and her other two sons had gone swimming at 3.25pm and she had arranged for Jamie to stay at her parents’ home at Clar, Redcastle.

The mother of three, from Moville, returned from the swim at about 5.20pm but her son was not at her parents’ home.


She said she learned her son had gone in a family car to see his girlfriend and she was not happy.

She tried to call her son but there was no reply from his mobile and she and other members of the family went to look for Jamie.

Mrs Doherty said she drove up a bog road at Tullyalley, Redcastle and was asking herself what would take Jamie up this road.

She then came across a car and realised it was upside down and recognised it as a black Renault Clio belonging to the family.

She said she could see Jamie’s legs and feet sticking out from underneath the car.

“I was calling out his name. I thought he was either hurt or okay. When I got close and knelt down I knew Jamie was gone. I knelt down, touched him and cried.

“I asked God why my best friend was lying flat under the car,” said Mrs Doherty.

Forensic investigation

Other members of the family who had been out looking for Jamie arrived and they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Mrs Doherty said the emergency service operator had asked her if she could put Jamie on his back and give him CPR but she said her son had already died.

Retired Garda Seamus Lyons said the road was not in good condition and was mostly used by tractors transporting turf and said that nobody with a “good car” would use it.

A forensic investigation of the scene showed the car hit a ditch and then flipped over trapping Jamie beneath.

The weather was not a factor in the collision as it was bright and dry.

A conclusion of the forensic investigation said that speed and driver inexperience were both factors in causing the crash.

A postmortem carried out by pathologist Dr Katrina Dillon showed Jamie suffered severe abrasions, fractures and also severe brain damage.

Her evidence said Jamie’s death was due to a severe head injury caused by a road traffic collision.

Coroner Dr Denis McCauley said inexperience and speed were contributing factors and said this was simply a terrible accident and his finding was misadventure.

He added, “Jamie was adored by his family, he was a lovely lad and seemed to be a lovely character. He was not a car-mad boy but just took a chance, hoping he would be back in time when his mum returned from swimming.

“A terrible thing occurred and it was just very sad for mum Evelyn to have found him like that.”