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Tragic loss Horse trainer tells inquest he had no chance to avoid hitting schoolboy's bike in fatal crash

An inquest at Dublin District Coroner’s Court on Wednesday heard Adam Lyons (10) had died while being held in the arms of his mother

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Motorist, Aidan Fitzgerald pictured leaving Dublin Coroner's Court this morning after giving evidence to the inquest into the death of 10 year old Adam Lyons, who died in a road traffic accident at Ballymartin, Borris, Co. Carlow on 25th June 2020.  Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Motorist, Aidan Fitzgerald pictured leaving Dublin Coroner's Court this morning after giving evidence to the inquest into the death of 10 year old Adam Lyons, who died in a road traffic accident at Ballymartin, Borris, Co. Carlow on 25th June 2020. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Motorist, Aidan Fitzgerald pictured leaving Dublin Coroner's Court this morning after giving evidence to the inquest into the death of 10 year old Adam Lyons, who died in a road traffic accident at Ballymartin, Borris, Co. Carlow on 25th June 2020. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

A well-known horse racing trainer who was involved in a fatal road collision which resulted in the death of a Carlow schoolboy has told an inquest that he had no chance to brake to avoid hitting the child’s bicycle.

The driver, Aidan Fitzgerald, said the bicycle ridden by the victim had suddenly come out of a minor road at a T-junction at Currane, Borris, Co Carlow and collided instantly with his vehicle.

Mr Fitzgerald, a former amateur jockey who trains horses at his stables in Ballymartin, Borris, Co Carlow, said he managed to stop his Toyota Land Cruiser within metres as he believed he was only travelling at a speed of 20km/h at the point of impact.

An inquest at Dublin District Coroner’s Court on Wednesday heard Adam Lyons (10) had died while being held in the arms of his mother, Heather, surrounded by his family at Children’s Health Ireland Temple Street in Dublin on June 25, 2020.

The schoolboy from Ballymartin Upper, Borris, Co Carlow had been airlifted earlier that day from the scene of the accident by an Air Corps helicopter for transfer to hospital in Dublin because of the severity of his injuries.

Mr Fitzgerald said he was returning from a visit to a field he was renting in the area with his two daughters, Rosie and Millie, at the time of the incident.

He told the inquest that shortly before the fatal collision he had pulled his vehicle into the verge to allow three girls on bicycles to pass. One of the girls was Adam’s sister, Ava.

Mr Fitzgerald said the cyclist had not landed on the bonnet of his SUV and Adam’s head had not made contact with the vehicle as he had swerved to try and avoid hitting the boy.

He also described how he and another man who arrived on the scene attempted to resuscitate Adam using CPR before emergency services arrived.

Questioned by Adam’s father, Eddie, if he could have got the speed he was travelling at wrong, Mr Fitzgerald replied that he had stopped “pretty quick.”

“It only took a few metres to stop. I know I was not going fast. I don’t drive quick,” he added.

In a statement, one of Adam’s friends, David Cass, described how they together with another friend, Seán Dalton had been out to a friend’s house to pick up a game controller.

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Garda Sean Delaney pictured leaving Dublin Coroner's Court this morning after giving evidence to the inquest into the death of 10 year old Adam Lyons.   Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Garda Sean Delaney pictured leaving Dublin Coroner's Court this morning after giving evidence to the inquest into the death of 10 year old Adam Lyons. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Garda Sean Delaney pictured leaving Dublin Coroner's Court this morning after giving evidence to the inquest into the death of 10 year old Adam Lyons. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

David said he and Seán had stopped as they came to the junction but Adam “kept going on.”

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The boy described how his friend had ended up lying on the ground near the wall while his bike was “broken up in pieces.”

The inquest heard an inspection of Mr Fitzgerald’s vehicle found it had a few minor defects but nothing which contributed to the fatal collision, while Adam’s bicycle was in good mechanical order.

A forensic collision investigator, Garda Maurice Mahon, said it had not been possible to estimate the speed of either the vehicle or bicycle at the point of impact.

Garda Mahon said road users would have very limited views of traffic on the other road on approaches to the T-junction, while there were no road markings or “stop” signs.

He said Adam had probably hit the wall as a result of the impact or a rock on the ground next to the wall,

Garda Seán Delaney who carried out an investigation into the collision, said Mr Fitzgerald had passed a breathalyser test, while an examination of his mobile phone showed it was not in use at the time of the fatal incident.

The witness said he had driven the route taken by Mr Fitzgerald himself and the time it took corroborated the evidence provided by the motorist.

Garda Delaney said it appeared that Adam had only glanced off the vehicle as there was only a slight scratch mark on the bonnet from the handlebars of the bicycle.

The court heard Mr Fitzgerald had been convicted and fined for not having a valid NCT certificate at the time of the collision but that there were no criminal proceedings in relation to the crash itself.

Garda Delaney said it was one of the hardest cases he had dealt with in over 20 years as a garda and he acknowledged that the whole community in the Ballymartin area was in shock at Adam’s death.

The inquest heard Adam died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries resulting from the collision, including a collapsed lung, broken left femur and severe internal bleeding.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, the coroner, Dr Clare Keane expressed her condolences to Adam’s parents and family on “a most shocking accident which affected so many people”.

Noting it would have been Adam’s 12th birthday next week, Dr Keane said: “It’s a heart-breaking loss. There are no words to say.”

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