Girl, 15, walked in front of truck while looking at phone

A 15-year-old girl who died after she stepped out in front of a truck was on her mobile phone at the time.

Nikita Dunne of Sherrard St, Dublin 1, died after she was struck by a truck outside Heuston Station on July 17, 2014, an inquest has heard.

Family members paid tribute to the teenager, who they described as a funny, bubbly, happy, lovely girl.

Ms Dunne was raised by her extended family, having lost both her parents at a young age. Her grand-uncle, Joe Flood, said the family bear no ill will against the truck driver and keep him in their prayers.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that Ms Dunne was seen walking from the Parkgate St direction around 4.20pm. One witness, Aoife Breen, who was on the Luas, said she saw the girl walk out in front of the truck without looking up from her mobile phone.

“I saw a white oil truck,” said Ms Breen. “I saw a girl on the footpath, it looked like she was texting on her phone. She walked out without looking up from her phone.”

Truck driver Patrick Bagnall had made a delivery to Heuston Station and stopped at a red light before easing slowly forward in the direction of Heuston Bridge. He saw the girl as he waited for the lights to change.

“The last I saw of her she was on the footpath,” Mr Bagnall said. “I checked the mirrors and moved off. I felt a bump and saw a body on the ground.”

Witness Andrea Gozzola saw the girl cross in front of the truck, which was moving at “walking speed”. Her head was below the truck’s cab level, making it impossible for the driver to see her, he said.

“When she was half across she turned her head back and realised. She was too close to get away. It all happened so slowly but yet so quickly,” Mr Gozzola said.

Witness Andrea Ryan was cycling along South Quay and saw Ms Dunne fall under the wheels and said: “It was as if she was just pushed over by the truck.”

Sgt Paul Kearney said CCTV footage showed the girl was holding a mobile phone at the time.

“She may have been dialing a number when she was seen looking at her phone earlier. She may have noticed the truck more if her arm was down,” he said.


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