Woman struck by car lay on road for nearly an hour

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A Carndonagh woman, struck by a car near her home almost five years ago, lay at the scene for almost an hour, an inquest in Buncrana has heard.

Mrs. Maura Porter, from Churchtown, Carndonagh, was eventually transported to Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital where she underwent surgery but later died.

At the inquest, her husband told Coroner, Dr. Denis McCauley, that he knelt down beside his wife as she lay at the side of the road and tried to re-assure her, but there was “nothing” he could do to help her.

The jury of six men and three women were told the incident occurred on December 30, 2013.

The inquest had heard depositions from Mr. Neil Porter, the deceased’s husband, and Austin Stewart, the driver of the car, as well as from crime scene investigators and two witnesses who had passed by the scene of the crash before it occurred.

Mr. Porter said there had been “pandemonium” at the scene as people tried to get help and the emergency services. He said his wife had left their home at approximately 4.40 p.m. to walk to the church and back, around 15 minutes from their home. At 5.55 p.m., he received a call from his son, Brendan, to inform him she had been “knocked down.”

On arriving at the scene, he saw her lying on the hard shoulder, around 200m. from their home.

Mr. Porter, a retired fireman, said he spoke to his wife, reassured her and asked her to squeeze his hand if she could hear him. She did not. He said he could see she was badly hurt but could not do anything to help her. She was unresponsive.

He said his wife had been “in good form” leaving the house and would regularly go to the chapel to light a candle. Mr. Porter said his wife always walked on the footpath.

He said they remained at the scene “for a long time, it went on and on.” Mrs. Porter was eventually transferred by ambulance to Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital where she underwent surgery, but died at 11.55 p.m.

Mr. Porter said that the driver of the car involved, Mr. Stewart, accompanied by a local church minister, called to his home the following day, where he offered his condolences and said he had not seen her.

Mr. Stewart, from Fahan, said he had been working in Carndonagh and was intending to travel home via Buncrana. He said he was “in no hurry” and there had been light rainfall and his wipers were on. He said he was travelling at a speed of 25 to 30 m.p.h. and had felt an “impact” on the left hand side of his car and saw something “flash” past the same side.

He brought the car to a halt and the car behind him, driven by a Ms. Anita O’Donnell, also stopped. They both got out and he saw Mrs. Porter lying on the road about 50 ft. away. Ms. O’Donnell stayed with Mrs Porter while he rang 999. The call was logged at 5.45 p.m. and Ambulance Control at Letterkenny received the call to mobilise at 5.49 p.m.

An advance paramedic in a rapid response vehcle arrived at the scene at 6.25 p.m., minutes before an intermediate care ambulance at 6.28pm. The emergency ambulance, which carried the equipment required to transport Mrs. Porter to Altnagelvin Hospital arrived at 6.35 p.m.

Mr. Stewart said that Mrs. Porter was unresponsive, but breathing.

People began to arrive, including Mrs. Porter’s family. Mark Kelly came on the scene and he rang his cousin, Dr. Seamus Kelly, who arrived around 15 minutes later, followed by Dr. Siofra.

Mr. Stewart said a paramedic arrived at the scene around 40 minutes later, followed by Gardaí, and the ambulance. Mr. Stewart said he did not see Mrs Porter on the road, adding: “I did not know where she came out of on the road.”

The inquest continues.