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Family of woman killed at traffic lights call for sensors to be fitted to front of vehicles

Olivia Loader (48) died after being hit by the vehicle at the junction of Phibsborough Road and Connaught Street.

Image: Rip.ie

THE FAMILY OF a woman killed after being struck by a cement lorry at a pedestrian crossing in Dublin two years ago have called for sensors to be fitted to the front of all large vehicles.

Olivia Loader (48) died after being hit by the vehicle at the junction of Phibsborough Road and Connaught Street in Phibsborough on August 29, 2020.

Ms Leader of Shandon Mill, Phibsborough was also struck by another car which was following directly behind the truck.

An inquest at Dublin District Coroner’s Court on Tuesday heard the mother of five had attempted to cross the Phibsborough Road while the lights were red for pedestrians because the traffic was stopped at the crossing.

Relatives of Ms Loader said the mandatory requirement for sensors to be fitted to the front of large vehicles could prevent similar deaths in future.

“The technology is there, so it is something that should be in place because of the danger these lorries pose to pedestrians,” said Ms Loader’s son, Alan Buckley.

Evidence was heard that the driver of the truck involved in the fatal collision could not have seen the victim because of blind spots on his vehicle.

The driver of the cement truck, Feodor Tcaci, said he had stopped at the traffic lights at the junction even though the lights were green for vehicles because he could not clear the box junction ahead.

Mr Tcaci said he moved off after checking his mirrors before he heard someone beeping a horn.

The driver said he was “in shock” after seeing a lady on the ground after he got out of his cab on the far side of the junction.

Mr Tcaci said it would take “something gigantic” to know that his vehicle had struck anything because of the weight of his cement truck.

He also acknowledged that the vehicle had a few blind spots.

Mr Tcaci said he had not seen Ms Loader at any stage before the collision which occurred at around 12.40pm.

A forensic collision investigator, Garda Gerard Dowd, said he did not believe the truck driver could have seen Ms Loader because of blind spots on the vehicle caused by the pillar between the windscreen and side window.

Garda Dowd said dashcam footage which captured the incident showed Ms Loader raised her hand to try and alert the driver to her presence when she was standing about one metre in front of the truck.

However, he expressed doubt that Mr Tcaci could have seen the victim even with her raised hand.

Garda Dowd said Ms Loader would need to have been around two metres in front of the vehicle to have been seen.

The inquest heard the victim was struck by the front of the vehicle and then dragged and rolled by the truck before suffering fatal injuries when its rear wheels drove over her head.

Ms Loader was also struck by a Hyundai i20 driving directly behind the truck.

The driver of the car, Barry Noonan, recalled feeling a bump on his car as he passed his junction but did not know what caused it.

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Mr Noonan said he only discovered what had happened after he had parked his car in a side street to check his vehicle and someone informed him that a woman had been struck by a lorry.

Garda Dowd said it was possible that Mr Noonan could have seen Ms Loader’s body on the ground, he acknowledged that motorists would generally be looking ahead.

The inquest heard no criminal prosecutions arose from the incident.

An eyewitness who was waiting at the pedestrian crossing, Andre Hostuk, said Ms Loader appeared to be in a hurry as she approached the junction and continued walking through it as the traffic had stopped.

The inquest heard a post-mortem on the victim, who suffered from a chronic alcohol dependency, found she had levels of alcohol over five times the legal limit in her body.

The coroner, Aisling Gannon, said such a quantity of alcohol may have affected the victim’s sense of self-awareness.

The post-mortem concluded Ms Loader died from extensive traumatic injuries consistent with a road traffic collision and death would have been instantaneous.

Ms Gannon returned a narrative verdict in accordance with the evidence.

The coroner said she would not make any recommendations as a Garda vehicle inspector had found both the truck and car involved in the fatal collision to be in good working order.

About the author:

Seán McCárthaigh

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