Motorcyclist killed instantly in collision with van in Cork, inquest hears

Coroner returns verdict of death by misadventure after hearing details of incident

German national, Mario Mueller,  had been riding his Suzuki motorbike on the afternoon of September 9th, 2020 when he was involved in a collision with a van at Kilpadder, Dromahane. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

German national, Mario Mueller, had been riding his Suzuki motorbike on the afternoon of September 9th, 2020 when he was involved in a collision with a van at Kilpadder, Dromahane. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

A motorcyclist (38) who veered on to his incorrect side of the road after rounding a bend was killed instantly when he collided with an oncoming van in Co Cork, an inquest has heard.

German national, Mario Mueller from Kilcolman, Dromahane, north Cork had been riding his Suzuki motorbike on the afternoon of September 9th, 2020 when he was involved in a collision with a van at Kilpadder, Dromahane.

Sgt Tony Cronin of Mallow Garda Station told how gardaí received a report of the collision at 3.25pm on the day in question and went to the scene where they found a motorbike had crashed into a VW Transporter van.

The driver of the van, farmer Patrick O’Riordan (51) of Gurranes, Dromahane was not physically injured in the collision but was visibly shaken. Mr O’Riordan was breathalysed at the scene and passed the breath test, the inquest heard

Insp Paul Ahern read a statement from Forensic Crash Investigator, Sgt Kevin Burke who said it was bright at the time of the collision and weather conditions were good while the road surface was also in good condition.

Sgt Burke said the road was governed by an 80km/h speed limit and while he was not able to establish the speed of either vehicle prior to the collision, the impact was significant to judge from the damage to both vehicles.

He said he was satisfied Mr Mueller did not lose control of his motorbike prior to the collision but it appeared he began to veer across the road on to his incorrect side after applying his rear brake and he collided with the van.

Mr O’Riordan said that he was driving at about 60km/h at the time, spotted the motorcyclist some 300m away and saw he was hugging the centre of the road so he started to pull into to his left so as to avoid the motorcyclist.

However, he noticed at approximately 150m away that the motorcyclist was veering over to his side of the road and was not correcting his line of driving even though it was leading him into his carriageway.

“He never corrected his line of driving – he came straight into me – he hit the passenger’s side of the front of the van – I can’t say whether he attempted to slow down or not, it all happened so fast,” he said.

Blood samples

Mr O’Riordan said the motorcycle hit the front of his van and when he got out he found the motorcycle in the ditch but he could see no sign of the driver but he later found him lying on the ground covered by briars and undergrowth.

“I could not have kept in any more on my own side than I did,” said Mr O’Riordan, adding that he had no idea why the motorcyclist didn’t attempt to correct his line of driving as he veered across the road into his path.

PSV Inspector, Garda Kevin Connolly said he did not find any contributory defects on the motorbike and it was evident the van was well into the ditch on its correct side of the road at the time of the collision.

The inquest heard Mr Mueller was pronounced dead at 3.49pm on September 9th, 2020 and on September 11th, 2020, Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster carried out a postmortem on his remains at Cork University Hospital.

Dr Bolster said she took blood samples which showed Mr Mueller had an alcohol concentration level of 125mls per 100mg of blood which was well above the level driving limit and would have impaired his reactions.

She said that Mr Mueller died from poly trauma with upper cervical spinal cord injury due to blunt force trauma due to a road traffic collision and that he would have been killed instantly so extensive were his injuries.

Insp Ahern said that gardaí had prepared a file on the collision which they had forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions who directed that there should be no prosecution arising from the collision.

Coroner for North Cork, Dr Michael Kennedy returned a verdict of misadventure, explaining that Mr Mueller died as a result of an unintended outcome of an intentional action, namely consuming alcohol.

Dr Kennedy extended his condolences to Mr Mueller’s partner, Mirjam Karbstein in Dromahane and to his ex-wife in Germany while Insp Ahern extended his sympathies to both women on behalf of An Garda Síochána.