A 16-year-old mother and her three-month old daughter lost their lives in an accident caused by a bald tyre which had been worn out by the practice of ‘doughnutting’, an inquest into their deaths has heard.
Kerry-Anne Meehan, of Flat 3, Doochary but who was originally from Derry, and her daughter Neisha, died after the car they were travelling in went out of control and crashed into a jeep and trailer at Tullygay, Letterkenny on June 16th, 2008 on the R250.
Kerry-Anne Meehan died at the scene of the accident while Neisha was pronounced dead shortly after she arrived at Letterkenny General Hospital.
Christopher Hanlon (21), from Leitirmacaward was sentenced to two years in prison substituted for 240 hours community service last November after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing the deaths of his girlfriend and three-month-old daughter.
Garda PSV inspector Sgt John McDaid told Letterkenny Coroner’s Court that the tyres on the 2006 registered Toyota Corolla hatchback “bore all the hallmarks of doughnuts having been done”. He said it was “sheer abuse on behalf of the driver” that caused the wear. Both rear tyres were badly worn but the right one was the worst. Sgt. McDaid said the tyres would have produced a “hopping effect” that would have been obvious to the driver that it was badly worn, he said. “You could not miss it,” he said. “It was inevitable this was going to happen unless it was changed. It was just a matter of time.”
Baby Neisha was found under the passenger seat of the car up to eight minutes after emergency workers arrived on the scene. Her car seat was cracked in several places as a result of the affect of the rear of the car crumpling in the collision. The centre strap of the seat which held her in place along with the shoulder strap had come out. Sgt McDaid said the condition of the seat was a result of the impact and not because of a malfunction.