A coroner has returned a verdict of accidental homicide at an inquest into the death of a 25-year-old Co Mayo woman who lay dying as her boyfriend fled the crashed car in which they had been travelling.
The hearing into the death of Tracey Moran, an optical assistant who lived at Milltown, Glenamoy, Ballina, was conducted by the coroner for Mayo, Pat O’Connor, on Monday.
Mr O’Connor heard graphic evidence about the circumstances of the fatal injuries Ms Moran sustained when the car, driven by Liam Ginty (28), Inver, Barnatra, went out of control on St Patrick’s Day 2022.
The court heard Ginty’s Volkswagen Jetta car crashed into a pillar and wall at Knocknalower, Belmullet.
Gardaí and first responders found Ms Moran slumped in the footwell of the passenger seat with no sign of her boyfriend driver who had fled the scene.
Sgt Gabriel Moran, Garda PSV Inspector for Mayo, gave evidence the crash occurred on a narrow road where the speed limit was 80kmph.
The true speed at the point the Jetta lost power was 91kmph, he said. He said the incident occurred on the incorrect side of the road.
Sgt Moran agreed when the coroner put it to him that it would take “some force” to knock down the adjoining wall.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the coroner said he had given serious consideration as to what verdict he should return and decided on a verdict of accidental homicide in light of the fact the impact occurred on a narrow road where the speed limit is 80kmph and the fact that the impact occurred on the incorrect side of the road.
Mr O’Connor said it was an unusual verdict but showed the seriousness of the incident which led to the tragic loss of such a young person. He added that speed was a significant factor in most road traffic accidents and he hoped young people would realise the consequences of driving at speed.
Earlier this year, Liam Ginty was sentenced to 16 months in prison at the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of his girlfriend and leaving the scene of the impact.