A 50 year old man was killed when a car, driven by his nephew who was over the legal alcohol limit, smashed into a wall at Newbuildings, ruled the Coroner on Friday.
Derry’s Coroner’s Court, sitting at Bishop Street, also heard that the driver of the car tested positive for drugs, including Diazepam, and would have faced criminal proceedings had he not lost his life in a subsequent accident.
The car in which the fatal collision occurred was also described as “not road worthy.”
The inquest into the death of Mr. Garry Kitson from Gortmellon Road, Cullion on February 6, 2011 heard that his nephew, Graham Robinson was driving the Peugout car when it smashed into a wall to the rear of Betty McBride’s Duncastle Road home in Newbuildings.
Mrs. McBride told the court she heard a “loud bang” and upon arriving at the scene encountered a young man who stated: “I killed my uncle.”
Mrs. McBride described the scene as; “Very stressful.”
Another eye witness, Mr. Fergus Marshall, said: “There was vapour coming from the car even though the engine block had come to rest some 16foot away from the vehicle.”
A police witness told the court that; “As a result of the impact off a garden wall, an impact which left chunks of plastic imbedded in the wall, the car, engine block, gearbox and rear axle had separated.”
The PSNI Forensic Officer told the court that there was a body of water on the road which; “Perhaps the driver had tried to avoid, however the car needed repair to the rear axle and the tread on one tyre was below the legal requirement.
“It certainly would have failed an MOT,” said the investigating officer, who believed that the car would have been travelling at 55mph at the time of the accident: “Though this would have been at the lower end of my estimatation given the energy required to separate the car.”
Coroner John Lecky was also informed that the driver had 98mgs of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system. The legal limit being 80mgs. A drug analysis had also shown he had tested positive for drugs including Diazepam which, said Coroner Lecky: “Were within the therapeutic range but still could impair driving ability, especially when combined with alcohol intake.”
The cause of death was ruled as haemothorax and transection of the thoracic aorta which according to the coroner “caused death fairly rapidly.”