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Aneurysm caused woman to pass out before Donegal road collision

A 30-year-old woman who lost her life a day after being involved in a road traffic accident

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

Aneurysm caused woman to pass out before Donegal road collision

A 30-year-old woman who lost her life a day after being involved in a road traffic accident in Donegal died as the result of an aneurysm and not as a result of injuries sustained in the road collision, an inquest into her death has heard.

Christina Ward died after being involved in a road traffic accident on the N13 at Newtowncunningham on March 23rd last year.

Ms Ward, who was from Kinlough in Co Leitrim but had been living at the Mountain Top in Letterkenny for three years before her death, was on her way to work in Derry when the road collision occurred.

Caroline McGrory told Letterkenny Coroner's Court she was driving towards Derry at 8.20 am when she saw a small blue car in front of her veer off centre and to the other side of the road.

She said she knew there was something wrong as she saw the car turn sharply back to the right side of the road.

The car began spinning around in circles and then collided with a grey car which was coming the other direction.

She dialed 999 and went over to the driver of the blue car. The driver was not conscious but was breathing.

Paul Brogan had been travelling from his home in Buncrana to Ballybofey in his Toyota Yaris van when he saw the blue Toyota Yaris zig-zagging towards him.

As it got closer he began to slow down and then just a few feet from him, it turned sharply to the right. “I slammed on the brakes and braced for a collision  and  said out loud, ‘Oh my God  Paul you are gone’.”

He suffered a broken collar bone, swollen ankle and a damaged breast bone but was released from hospital later that day.

The accident “happened very quickly,” he said.

The inquest heard that Ms Ward was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital where she was placed on life support but she passed away the following day.

Garda PSV examiner Garda  Damian Kearns said weather conditions were dry at the time. He said both vehicles were in a serviceable pre-accident condition. The Toyota Yaris had suffered massive frontal damage while the Yaris van, driven by Mr Brogan, suffered a massive impact to the passenger side.

Garda Gerry McCauley, a  forensic collision examiner, said the Yaris had inexplicably crossed to the wrong side of the road and collided with the van. He said there were no “external factors” that caused the Yaris to cross to the other side of the road.

A post mortem found that Ms Ward had suffered an aneurysm which had caused a loss of consciousness which had resulted in the road traffic collision. No alcohol was detected in Ms Ward's system.

Dr Katrina Dillon said the injuries from the accident were not life threatening. She said Ms Ward would have died very suddenly and would not have suffered.

Solicitor Florence Hutchinson said the Ward family had got comfort from the fact that Christina had not suffered.

Coroner Dennis McCauley said Ms Ward’s family should be praised for consenting to the donation of her organs.

The coroner returned a verdict of death by natural causes.