NewsCrime Desk

Teen deliberately run over by gang feared he would die

Keane Cooke and dad Gareth
Keane Cooke and dad Gareth

A 15-year-old who suffered horrific injuries after a gang of thugs deliberately hit him with a car says he feared he was going to die.

Keane Cooke was cycling near his Donabate home with two friends the night before his final Junior Cert exam when they noticed a shirtless man walking down the street with injuries on his body.

As the teens cycled past him, the man began to shout threats in their direction.

Minutes later, Keane heard the sound of a car speeding towards him before it mounted the footpath and struck him.

The impact sent the teenager flying off his bicycle and on to the ground.

Despite being in severe pain, he ran into a nearby garden for safety as the car came to a screeching halt.

Four men in their 20s then emerged from the vehicle, one of them wearing a balaclava and another brandishing a crowbar.

One of the four was the shirtless individual who the teens passed while cycling by Donabate Community Centre.

Threatening to hit one of Keane's friends with the blunt instrument, one man began to shout: "Where is he? Where is he?" They then decided to get back into their vehicle and flee the scene.

Speaking to the Herald, Keane said his life flashed before his eyes during the horror attack.

"It all happened so quickly. The car was driving so fast and struck me from its top left side," he said.

"I was sent through the air with the force even knocking my shoes and socks off.

"The left mirror of the car was tangled up in my bike in four different pieces."

"I actually thought I was going to die. My life flashed before my eyes."

Keane now believes he was the victim of mistaken identity.

"They must have thought we were the ones responsible for beating up their friend," he said.

The incident happened close to the Donabate Community Centre at around 10.30pm and a witness said the thugs were driving a green 2001 Peugeot car.

"I was very worried about my friends when they trapped them on the footpath," Keane said.

"It all ended when one of the lads in the car said, 'He doesn't know where he is, just leave him'."

The brave teen then called his father, who rushed to the scene and called gardai.

As a result of the incident, Keane suffered large cuts and grazes on both legs, which have since become infected.

Despite his pain, Keane still managed to attend his technology exam the following day, marking an end to his Junior Cert.

"It was very hard to focus during the exam because of the pain, but thankfully I managed to complete it," he said.

"I'm just really sore and am putting all my energy at the moment into my recovery."

Keane's father, Gareth, told the Herald that he is determined to get justice for him.

"My son is lucky to be alive because, if they hit him directly with the car, he would be dead," he said.

"I'm very angry that someone could do this to him and I'm determined to not let this go.

"I really hope the guards are taking this investigation seriously, as these people are still out there."

Gardai confirmed to the Herald they were investigating.

"I can confirm a non-serious RTC occurred on 20 June at approximately 10.30pm," a garda spokesman said.

"One youth received minor injuries when car mounted footpath and stuck a youth on bike. The car left the scene. The matter is under investigation."

Ian Begley