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Accidental death verdict returned in case of boy killed in sulky accident

Sean Doyle was killed in February 2016 when the sulky he was a passenger on was hit by a truck after the horse bolted.

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THE FAMILY OF a 12-year-old boy killed in an accident involving a sulky car on a public road say they hope new regulations can prevent further loss of life.

Sean Doyle (12) sustained catastrophic injuries after he was thrown from a sulky car beneath the axles of an oncoming truck. He was one of three passengers on the sulky when the accident happened at St Cuthbert’s Road, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, on 26 February 2016.

The jury of an inquest into Sean’s death recommended the introduction of by-laws specifically relating to the regulation and safety considerations of the use of sulky cars on public roads.

“I just hope no other child is lost in these circumstances,” the child’s mother Stacey Doyle said following an inquest in her son’s death.

“Sean was an amazing boy. He was the heart of our family, we miss him so much. He was full of life and fun and divilment and everyone loved him,” his grandmother Mary Doyle said.

We are so glad of these recommendations, there is absolutely no way any child should be out on a sulky.

Sean’s best friend had received a sulky car for his horse Rambo as a gift for Christmas. The friend was ten years old. Cherie Smith said her son was allowed to drive it around the yard but not on the public road. “They were best friends. They were both mad into the horses,” she said.

Sean’s friend was holding the reins when the horse bolted across St Cuthbert’s Road. The sukly car collided with an oncoming truck. The tubular steel shaft connecting the cart to the horse’s harness snapped and Sean was thrown beneath the lorry.

“The truck made a weird noise like it was letting air out and Rambo went to the opposite side of the road, he got a fright. The back of the truck hit us and I went up in the air and hit the ground. Sean was on the ground,” he said.

Truck driver John Pouch, a local authority worker said there was nothing he could have done to avoid the collision. “The horse just shot across the road and hit the truck behind the cab,” he said.

PSV Inspector Garda David O’Brien described the sulky as a man-made cart on a tubular steel axle with no seat belts or side-guards.

“It’s not a vehicle that should be used on a public highway,” he said. Sean Doyle, from Melrose Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death was severe head injuries.

The truck was travelling well below the 50km/h speed limit, the inquest heard. A file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions but no charges were brought.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

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Louise Roseingrave

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