Girl (13) killed by van’s rear-view mirror, inquest finds – The Irish Times

A Co Waterford girl who died after suffering a indirect hit from a van while walking home from school was “very, very unfortunate” to suffer such serious injuries, a coroner has said.

Aisling Kennedy (13), Glasha, Ballymacarby, Co Waterford, was crossing a road near her home after getting off a school bus when she was hit by the rear-view mirror of a van on 7 April 2022.

The teenager, a first-year pupil at Presentation High School in Clonmel, died from her injuries at Dublin’s Temple Street Hospital on July 12, 2022, three months after the incident.

Dr Cróna Gallagher, presiding judge at Dublin District Coroner’s Court, noted that the collision was “very, very unfortunate” and that “on another occasion, (Aisling) might have been fine.”

The inquest heard that Aisling pulled out of a “blind spot” behind another vehicle before the collision, and that the driver of the van, John Fahy, was given no chance to react.

Dr Gallagher returned a verdict of accidental death at the conclusion of the inquest, and the cause of death was recorded as traumatic brain injury.

Aisling was traveling home on a bus driven by John O’Brien before the accident on the date in question. At around 4.30pm, Mr O’Brien told the inquest he dropped Aisling off at a junction, on a straight section of the R671, near his home.

Fahy, the driver of the Ford Transit van involved in the collision, saw the bus stopped in front of him as he approached the junction on his way home from work in Dungarvan, he told the inquest. As he approached, he saw several cars overtaking the bus and slowed down his van.

As he approached the bus, he saw that it was leaving again. Then he saw a girl appear near the driver’s side rearview mirror and heard a bang, she said. He stopped his truck immediately and then saw Aisling lying on the ground.

“Everything happened very quickly,” he said.

Jason Abraham, a Fahy employee who was traveling in the van, called 999.

Another employee in the van, Mark Kelly, attended to Aisling. He told the inquest that he caught a “sidelong glance” at the teenager when the collision occurred.

Mary Mulcahy said she saw Aisling standing to the left of the school bus after getting off, according to a statement provided to the court. Mulcahy stopped behind the school bus before she pulled away; She said the teen must have passed behind her car before being hit by the truck.

Linda Skehan, a member of the public who stopped to help Aisling, detected a pulse while tending to the teenager. She and Mr. Kelly covered her with blankets and coats while they waited for medical assistance, the investigation heard.

Paramedics, gardaí, an ambulance and a helicopter attended the scene. Garda Conor O’Donovan agreed that it was evident from the beginning that the incident was serious.

Following his investigation, Gda O’Donovan said it appeared the teenager had come out of a “blind spot” to cross the road, and agreed Fahy had no opportunity to react.

The scene of the incident was preserved overnight. Gda Maurice Mahon, forensic collision investigator, told the inquest that conditions were bright and dry when the incident occurred.

He agreed with Dr Gallagher that Aisling had gone out onto the road and “presumably” did not see Mr Fahy’s vehicle before the “very, very unfortunate” accident. There were no other contributing factors to the accident, the coroner said.

Aisling was airlifted to hospital to receive treatment for her injuries. John Caird, a consultant neurosurgeon at Temple Street, said Aisling suffered a “severe” brain haemorrhage in the collision. She was placed in a medically induced coma in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

His condition did not improve and he died peacefully in the presence of his family on July 12.

Closing the inquest, Dr Gallagher sympathized with Aisling’s parents, noting that she was a child becoming independent and had started her life in secondary school before the collision occurred.