A rally fan killed after being struck by a competing car had been on the road for less than two seconds before the collision happened, an inquest has heard.
Richard O’Donnell, 18, from Jefferson Court in Strabane, died on June 14th, 2008 after being struck by a competing Ford Fiesta in Ballyare outside Letterkenny on the eleventh stage of the competition.
The inquest into his death at Letterkenny Coroner’s Court heard Mr. O’Donnell died after climbing over a gate onto the road from a field where he had been watching the rally. He was struck almost immediately by the car and his body came to rest 60 metres from the point of impact. The driver of the car, Elfin Evans, said in a statement that he had been driving between 90 to 95 miles per hour when someone suddenly appeared on the road. The man had his back to the car and he staggered across the road towards him. The car collided with a fence and ended up in a field following the collision.
A post mortem found he died from serious head injuries as a result of a road traffic accident. Dr. Katrina Dillon told the inquest there would have been a considerable degree of intoxication at the time of death.
Laura Cole from Killygordon, who had been watching the rally with Mr. O’Donnell, told the inquest how she heard a rally marshal blow a whistle and members of the crowd shout after he climbed over the gate. She said she grabbed Richard by the jumper to stop him. He stopped and looked at the road before going on. She lost grip of his jumper as a friend shouted stop. She then saw Richard’s legs up in the air. “I never heard the rally car coming,” she said.
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