Truck ‘struck disabled man’

A wheelchair user crossing a Dublin city junction was struck by a truck and died four days later, an inquest heard. James Owens, aged 87, of Blackhorse Grove, Dublin 7, died of organ failure, sepsis, pneumonia and multiple rib fractures, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

Mr Owens was making his way across a junction connecting the North Circular Road to the Old Cabra Road on September 30, 2014, at around 4pm when the accident happened.

He regularly met friends at Hanlon’s pub and frequently used the pedestrian crossing at the junction, Mr Owens’s daughter Linda Mangan said. Truck driver William McKeown had delivered a consignment of eggs to Kilmainham and was returning to Co Cavan when the incident happened.

“I checked my mirrors and blind spots, the road in front of me was clear. The lights were green allowing me to turn left,” Mr McKeown said. When the van moved off, the truck moved forward through the junction, as Mr Owens crossed the road. Mr Owens was knocked out of his wheelchair.

The driver of the 7.3m rigid truck said he was not aware of the incident until he saw a female cyclist gesturing to him. He stopped the truck. Asked if he had seen Mr Owens at any point he said “Absolutely not”. An ambulance was called and Mr Owens was taken to the Mater Hospital.

The self-employed truck driver continued to Co Cavan as he believed he was not involved. He later heard an appeal for witnesses and went to a local garda station.

Members of the Owens family reacted with shock to CCTV footage, which the coroner said shows the truck “clearly strikes the wheelchair”.

Mr Owens died at the Mater Hospital on October 3. The inquest was provisionally adjourned until November 26, pending submission of more medical evidence.


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