Tragic deaths of young parents
thanks NI emergency personnel
A CORONER has thanked the Northern Ireland emergency
services for responding to the many horrific crashes
across the border in Inishowen in recent years.
Dr John Madden said he wanted to place on record the
county's gratitude to the NI ambulance service and
fire service for their consistently prompt responses
to crashes in areas such as Burnfoot and Muff. Dr
Madden made his comments during an inquest into the
death of 20-year old Anthony Doherty, Earhart Park,
Derry, who was killed instantly when his red Rover
car crashed into a tree at Craig, Muff, in the early
hours of a bitterly-cold March 18, 2007.
The front-seat passenger, 19-year old Roisin
Doherty, from Cornshell Fields, Shantallow, Derry,
died a short time later in hospital. The young
couple, while recently estranged, were the parents
of a two-year old daughter, the inquest heard.
The probe into Mr Doherty's death heard from a
number of witnesses including his mother Catherine,
and James McDaid, a driver with Thornhill Taxis, who
was the first to arrive at the tragic scene.
He was driving a passenger home at a speed of just
30mph due to heavy sleet and hail, when he came
across the Rover crashed into a tree up on a ditch.
Mr McDaid said he
stopped his taxi, put on the hazard lights and
phoned 999. He spotted a young woman lying on the
grass verge on the opposite side of the road. He
spoke to her and she managed to tell him her name
and address. Another person who had just arrived on
the scene told him the driver was dead.
NI ambulance officer Gerard
Stewart testified that
Mr Doherty was trapped in the car with his head at
"an abnormal angle to his body". His body was later
removed from the car by NI fire service personnel.
Ms Doherty, he told the inquest was "conscious and
Muff Garda Pat Keaveney testified that the front of
the car was embedded in the tree with the rear
wheels three-feet in the air. Garda Keaveney said
the two airbags had activated but it appeared that
the passenger seat-belt had not in use at the moment
of impact. He said "weather conditions were a
contributory factor" to the accident.
In her deposition, Anthony Doherty's mother
Catherine Doherty, outlined how she was informed of
the fatal accident at her Earhart Park home and
later had to formally identify her son's body at
Letterkenny General Hospital.
The jury at the coroner's court in Carndonagh on
Friday returned a verdict of death due to an
accident. Dr Madden offered his sympathies to
Catherine Doherty, saying no young woman should have
to suffer the pain of identifying her child's body.
Dr Madden also put it on public record his sincere
gratitude to the NI emergency services.