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Horror injuries Father of boy (5) who was run over in a busy car park warns 'it will happen again'

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The scene at Sweeney Mews, Ongar, where a truck driven by Joseph Coughlan ran over Philip Peczek (5)

The scene at Sweeney Mews, Ongar, where a truck driven by Joseph Coughlan ran over Philip Peczek (5)

The scene at Sweeney Mews, Ongar, where a truck driven by Joseph Coughlan ran over Philip Peczek (5)

The parents of a young boy who was critically injured after being run over by an articulated truck in a shopping centre car park have said the same thing could happen again unless changes are implemented.

Philip Peczek was just five years old when the shocking accident happened on February 16, 2016 in Ongar, West Dublin.

He and his older sister Caroline were being walked to school by their mother Barbara when the truck with a 40ft articulated trailer was making a delivery.

It had turned into the busy car park and reversed, and the driver was attempting to turn back out of the car park when he knocked Caroline down and ran over Philip.

Frantic

Bystanders shouted and waved at the driver and he stopped, but then had to reverse after he was told the front wheel was still on top of the boy.

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Joseph Coughlan

Joseph Coughlan

CollinsPhotoAgency

Joseph Coughlan

"If not for the people that shouted at the driver all three would have been run over," Philip's dad Peter explained.

"I got a frantic call from Barbara when I was at work and she told me Philip got hit. I thought he had been hit by a car but then she said he was under a truck and my legs turned to jelly."

"A colleague drove me to the scene. The truck had run over Philip's left leg and torso."

Philip was rushed to Temple Street hospital. Barbara's family in Poland were notified about what had happened, and there were huge concerns as to whether Philip would survive or not.

"Then I got a call from my mother in law in Poland," said Peter. "She told me that her husband, Barbara's father, had been shocked by the news and died from a heart attack.

"This had a huge impact on Barbara. She had seen our son being run over, and we were waiting in Temple Street not knowing if he would survive, and now her father had died."

Philip spent a month in hospital having sustained life-threatening injuries and had to undergo multiple operations and rehabilitation.

The driver of the truck, Joseph Coughlan (60) of Kilcarrig Close, Fettercairn, Tallaght, Dublin, was charged with careless driving causing serious harm but was acquitted at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when the judge found the prosecution case against him was speculative.

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Joseph Coughlan

Joseph Coughlan

CollinsPhotoAgency

Joseph Coughlan

Peter and his family are calling on new measures to be put in place at the car park area to prevent a similar incident happening again.

"The car park where the truck was is small but very busy, and there isn't room for trucks that size to turn," he said.

"While I heard about verbal instructions given to all truck drivers not to be there at that time there were no written notices, signage or physical barriers limiting the traffic of heavy goods vehicles," Peter explained.

"Even today it is the same, and another incident could happen. I often see large trucks in the car park and I have talked with many drivers and explained to them what can happen.

"What is needed is physical restrictions like barriers to limit the size of vehicles in the car park at certain times, or better logistical planning with regards to suitable fleet size used by hauliers delivering goods," Peter said.

"The medical staff at Temple Street were incredible, and we want to thank all of them for the work they did for Philip and for us. Philip's eldest sister Aleksandra, inspired by the medical care he received, is currently studying nursing at Trinity College."

Peter also said the staff of St Benedict's National School were an incredible support.

"His teacher, Ms Lee, and deputy principal Ms O'Connor would come in during their own free time after work hours to teach Philip," he said.

"And the community of Ongar were very supportive. Even people we didn't know were praying for us, and told us that they grew closer together as families because of what happened," he added.

"We are trying to put everything behind and enjoy each and every moment of our lives. Though we can't get over the fact that nothing has been done to prevent this happening to anyone again," said Peter.

Herald