A WOMAN who was 28 weeks pregnant lost her unborn child after a drunk driver crashed into the vehicle in which she was a passenger, an inquest heard today (Monday).
Baby Keva Rose Roche, Wood Street, Castlerea, was stillborn at Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, days after her mother, Natalie, was involved in an accident at Ballymoe, Co. Roscommon, on July 26, 2013.
Ms. Roche was passenger in a car driven by Thomas O'Dwyer, the stepfather of her partner, when a car came towards them “wobbling violently."
The other vehicle was driven by Anthony Fleming, Gortnadeeve, Creggs, Co. Galway.
Today's inquest was told that Fleming, who had “a high level of blood alcohol” at the time of the accident, was convicted of drunken driving, fined €500, and disqualified from driving for three years at Tuam District Court last June.
He was also fined €500 for dangerous driving and disqualified from driving for two years. He was fined a total of €500 for having two bald tyres.
Thomas O'Dwyer told today's inquest that before the other vehicle struck “there appeared to be frantic movement by somebody inside the car” and “it seemed like somebody was trying to regain control."
Mr. O''Dwyer added: “Just before the collision I heard Natalie screaming. 'Oh God' and there was a big bang and a violent impact”.
Natalie Roche told the inquest the two cars collided head on.
“I saw a car swerve into our path and it swerved out to its own side and back into our path again”, she explained.
“Thomas was trying to swerve out of the way of this car but the other car came back into the path Thomas had taken to avoid the first swerve”.
Anthony Fleming did not attend today's inquest. In a statement to gardaí which was read to the hearing, he admitted to having alcohol taken before the impact.
He said he had been drinking with friends in Ballymoe while they watched a Galway versus Clare hurling match.
Mr. Fleming said he had parked his car up and had intended to be collected by his girlfriend.
However, his car had been moved as a joke and when he found it be decided to drive home.
“I have never been in any trouble before this and I am sorry for what happened," Mr. Fleming said in his statement.
Dr. Peter Kelehan, a paediatric pathologist, who carried out a post mortem at Tullamore General Hospital, gave the cause of death as accidental due to injuries sustained in a road traffic accident.
An inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death in accordance with the medical evidence.