Price family find no closure from inquest

The mother of a Mullingar teenager killed in a car accident in 2006 has said Wednesday’s inquest has not brought closure to her family.

Darren Price, Petitswood, Mullingar died almost six years ago on his way to college in Athlone when his Fiat Punto was in collision with an articulated lorry outside Tyrrellspass, Westmeath.

The teenager, who was an inter-county footballer, died at the scene.

Westmeath coroner Dr Wilfred Hoover would not allow counsel for the Price family to put questions to the driver of the lorry, who had poor English, about which side of the road the accident occurred on.

The coroner agreed with counsel for the driver, Wieslaw Lewanczky who is originally from Poland, that the Coroner’s Court must confine itself to matters of fact about the time, location, and cause of death.

In his statement, Mr Lewanczky said he has never had an accident and had been driving in Ireland for four and a half years.

He said Mr Price’s Punto, which was coming in the opposite direction, had crossed the white line and collided with him.

Evidence was given that it was a perfect driving day and that witnesses found Mr Lewanczky distraught at the scene.

Tachographic evidence relayed by a retired garda showed he had rested for two hours shortly before the accident and had stopped several times.

Speaking afterwards, Donna Price said the inquest had “absolutely not” brought closure.

“As a bereaved mother, I am very disappointed at the inquest today. I lost my son Darren in very tragic circumstances and I thought the inquest would have given us an opportunity to explore the facts surrounding the tragic crash in which he lost his life a little bit more.”

A road safety activist, who believes that issues regarding intoxication, telephone details and tachographic evidence should all be considered, she said the causative factors surrounding accidents should be explored in greater detail.

“At today’s inquest we were limited in the questions we could ask in those areas. I thought the coroner’s inquest would have put the facts which caused my son’s death on the public record, but sadly that wasn’t the case.”

“There’s a lot of information that was missed out on, because we didn’t have forensic investigators at the time, and sadly there are facts that haven’t been established,” she said.

She was disappointed that she wasn’t told until Tuesday of this week that the DPP will not be prosecuting.

Inspector Dermot Drea and Westmeath State solicitor Peter Jones both explained in detail that the DPP has looked at the evidence surrounding the teenager’s death on two occasions, and there is no basis for a prosecution.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and the cause of death was given as shock and trauma as a result of multiple injuries sustained in a road traffic accident.

“We just have to gather ourselves together and decide where to go from here,” said Mrs Price.

 

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