No prosecutions after fatal accident in Gap of Dunloe

Wishing Bridge, Gap Of Dunloe, Co Kerry.

There will be no prosecutions arising from an accident near the Gap of Dunloe in Co Kerry where an American couple died, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed.

Normand Larose, aged 62, from Canada but living in Phoenix, Arizona, and his partner Joy Few, aged 64, also from Arizona, were killed on April 9, 2018.

They had been travelling by horse and trap through the narrow Gap of Dunloe mountain pass when their horse suddenly left the road and plunged several metres down a rocky ravine.

They were on a family holiday last Easter with Ms Joy’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, who were travelling in a horse and trap behind them.

The experienced jarvey Dan Casey, from Kilgarvan, escaped physical injury but was hospitalised for shock and the horse was put down at the scene.

The family has a period of two months to appeal the DPP’s direction.

A separate investigation by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) last night said it has also concluded its investigations and it will not be bringing charges.

Investigators believe it was a freak and tragic accident at a point in the road where there is a ravine. No one knows what caused the horse to fall.

It was “essentially a road traffic accident”, a spokesman for the HSA said. He said the HSA will not be making recommendations arising from the investigations. Last August, the inquest into the death of Mr Larose opened in Killarney for the purposes of issuing a death certificate. Death was the result of blunt force trauma with severe brain injury due to a fall onto rocks.

The inquest into Ms Few’s death will open in March, but is likely to be adjourned as it falls within the family’s timeframe to lodge an appeal.

Last year, the council accepted a recommendation from the coroner’s court to erect signage after another American tourist, Janet Price, 69, died on a cycle through the Gap. Ms Price’s husband said she was an inexperienced cyclist and would not have undertaken to cycle through the Gap had she been aware of the dangers. Ms Price had rounded a bend and collided with a sheep trailer.

The coroner and the jury said tourists should be made aware of the dangers of the route and of the multiplicity of road users on the Gap.

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