We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Maggie Bonner with a picture of her father Frankie Leah Farrell/

'Standing at the scene where my boyfriend ran over a man...I didn't know it was my dad'

Maggie Bonner describes the shock of finding out that the man who her boyfriend drove over was her father.

ON 10 JUNE last year Maggie Bonner got a call from her boyfriend when he realised he drove over a man.

Hours later Maggie discovered that the man was her dad.

Michael Jackson said he “felt a slight bump on the road” while out on a job in the early hours of the morning, delivering a van to Killala, Co Mayo, but he didn’t pay much heed because he didn’t see anything – it was dark and raining out.

Jackson returned to the scene when he noticed his bumper was cracked and that’s when he discovered the body of a man lying on the road.

He immediately called the emergency services and then called his girlfriend to tell her what happened.

Bonner told, “My brother brought me in and the man was lying there but we weren’t allowed to go near the body.”

She described how the man was lying face down with his head covered by his dark clothes.

We were all standing there thinking ‘do we know who this man is?’

Bonner said she began to recognise her Dad’s hands and his clothes as it got brighter that morning.

The next thing it started getting bright and that’s when a few things came together and my brother went home to check if Dad was there.

Maggie’s fears were confirmed when her brother was asked to identify their father’s body at the scene.

90399554 Maggie Bonner and her boyfriend Michael Jackson with a picture of her late father Frankie. Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

Grim numbers 

Today is World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims and the RSA revealed figures earlier this week showing 23,752* people died on Irish roads since records began in 1959.

20151112_Deaths_JOU Statista Statista

(*These figures were recorded up to Tuesday November 10.)

Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority Liz O’Donnell, said:

“World Day of Remembrance reminds us how easily tragedy can happen but by making small changes to our behaviour on the roads, we can all help to prevent future tragedy.

Never underestimate the role we as individuals can play in saving lives, each and every time we use the roads. Let’s all work together to share the roads responsibly.

‘When you pass that scene, it all flashes back’

Maggie Bonner and Michael Jackson have decided to tell their story to encourage people to wear fluorescent gear when walking, especially in dark rural areas.

Frankie Bonner, 65, was returning home after being out socialising when he died. Maggie Bonner added, “We kind of felt we couldn’t save him that night.”

Dad was all in black and he had his jacket pulled over his head, probably to cover himself because it was raining.
He must have collapsed beforehand because Michael didn’t see him and he was lying in the middle of the road.

“If Dad was wearing something, Michael would have seen him on the road but it was too bad of a night and too dark of an area.”

Describing her dad, Bonner said, “He was lovely. He was originally from Donegal and he was a retired fisherman.

“He was well loved in the community and that was shown by the large crowds that came out for his funeral.”

Every day is very hard because we travel by the scene of the accident on the way to and from work. When you pass that scene, it all flashes back and you have 100 questions passing through your head.

Bonner described how her dad and her boyfriend were very close, “He [Michael] was as close to my Dad as I was, every day it’s tough for him as well.”

Remembrance services and ceremonies are being held in 12 different locations around Ireland today to mark World Day of Remembrance.

Last Rites series: Everything you wanted to know about grief but were too afraid to ask

Read: ‘Then everyone died’: I lost four people I loved in 14 months

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.