Man drove over brother in error, inquest told


A MAN accidentally ran his 4x4 vehicle over his brother after the latter had fallen on the ground following a night out celebrating his 68th birthday, an inquest heard yesterday.

Michael Waldron, of Cave, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, died at Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, on July 20th, 2011, despite emergency surgery to try to save him.

Popularly known as “The Minister” due to his support for Fianna Fáil locally, Mr Waldron also had strong links with the GAA and was a passionate supporter of the Mayo senior team.

At the inquest in Castlebar yesterday into his brother’s death, Sean Waldron (71) said that on returning home to the house where he lived with Michael at about 12.30am, he had run over his brother with the front right and the back right wheels of his vehicle. Initially, Mr Waldron explained, he thought he had hit a dog.

He continued: “I saw something coming from my right hand side from the lawn. It went under the right front wheel.

“I felt the bump on the front wheel and on the back wheel. I thought it was a dog I hit. I braked when I got the first bump.”

The witness said after he got out of the vehicle he saw Michael lying on the ground, on his back. There was blood from a cut on his forehead. Michael then spoke to him, apologising for the “trouble” he was causing.

“I spoke to Michael. He was talking to me. I took him by the hand. I asked him if he was okay. He said ‘I am, but I can’t get up. I’m an awful man. I’m putting you to a lot of trouble’.”

Michael Waldron was brought by ambulance to Mayo General Hospital, where surgery was performed. His sister rang at 7.30am the next morning to say he had died.

Ballyhaunis-based hackney/taxi driver, Joe Freeley, gave evidence of driving Michael Waldron home from a pub in the town at about midnight. He said he was drunk and mumbling.

He had dropped him off at the front door before heading back into town to pick up another fare.

Amy Conroy, a member of the bar staff at MacStiurtain’s Pub, said Michael Waldron had come into the pub some time after 9pm. He was in great form and it was his birthday. He would not let anyone buy him a drink. He drank a maximum of two or three pints while there.

She rang a taxi for him and said he was a bit slow on his feet. He was “having the craic”, but looked very tired.

“He was a big GAA man and with Mayo winning at the weekend he was out because of that.”

Following the unusual circumstances in which Mr Waldron died, a full-scale Garda investigation was mounted and State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy was called in to carry out a postmortem.

Dr Cassidy told yesterday’s inquest hearing Mr Waldron had died of a crush injury to his chest consistent with a vehicle having traversed his body.

Dr Cassidy said there was evidence of coronary heart disease, with the deceased having sustained a major heart attack in the past. It was surprising, she said, that death had not been more immediate given the extent of the injuries.

Dr Cassidy said there was no evidence Mr Waldron had been knocked down from an upright stance and there was no evidence of any injuries consistent with an assault.

She said the deceased may have fallen on the ground while in an intoxicated state.

There was a high level of alcohol in the deceased’s body, the pathologist stated.

An inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Sympathising with Mr Waldron’s family, the coroner said the past 12 months had been very difficult for Sean Waldron.

“I know Sean carried a great sense of burden,” the coroner stated.

“Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do to avoid the situation.”

The coroner continued: “Michael lived for politics and the GAA. He was a most inoffensive man who would do anything for anybody.”

Garda Supt Colm Fox and Stephen Burns, foreman of the inquest jury, joined in the expressions of sympathy to the dead man’s family.