Car fell on man while he was working on brakes

A CORONER has warned that using a standard scissors-style car jack on its own to hold up a car is not safe after hearing that a man died when a car he was working underneath fell on top of him.

The inquest into the death of Zygimantas Grabys, 31, heard that he usually put a tyre underneath the car as well as the jack but on this occasion he did not.

The accident happened on the May bank holiday weekend, when Mr Grabys, who is from Lithuania, went to work on the brakes on his wife Lina’s Renault Megane car.

His wife went to work and he rang her at 10.30am to say the garage was closed as it was a bank holiday and that he would do the work on the brakes himself.

The car was parked outside their home in Inniscrone Mews, Avenue Road, Dundalk, Co Louth.

A short time later she was called home by neighbours who had found him lying under the car.

Dundalk Coroner’s Court heard from Valdas Kalausis, who had called to visit friends, who were neighbours of the deceased.

He said he could see the body and legs of Mr Grabys coming out from underneath the body of the car.

He said hello to him and then saw that his left ear was blue and he was lying in a pool of blood.

The car was on top of his head, he said. The car jack and a tyre were on the ground as well.

In reply to Coroner Ronan Maguire, the witness said the jack was on the ground beside the wheel.

He said “he was always working on cars and every time he put the tyre underneath except this time”.

The inquest heard how neighbours of the couple had lifted up the car and pulled him from underneath it.

One neighbour spotted a Garda car and the gardaí used first aid equipment and performed CPR on him until an ambulance with paramedics arrived.

Garda Hugh McNulty said the car jack was a scissors-style one and was “not the one for the Renault”.

Pathologist Dr John Ryan said that death was due to severe skull fractures and severe head injuries including injuries to the brain. He told his widow that he would have been instantly unconscious and would have died within minutes.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, the coroner said it was a tragic accident and while the deceased was “used to working on cars he normally put a wheel under the hub and for some reason this time he didn’t”. He said that a jack “on its own is never sufficient” to hold a car. He expressed his sympathies to his widow and family.

Garda Inspector Leo McGinn also expressed sympathies to the wider Lithuanian and Polish communities in Dundalk.

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