Monday 24 September 2018

'I had a green light' says hit-and-run-drug man

Ruadhan Tracey (33). Inset: Conor Hickey
Ruadhan Tracey (33). Inset: Conor Hickey
Conor Hickey
Ruadhan Tracey outside court. Photo: Collins Courts

The driver in a hit-and-run that caused the death of a 14-year-old boy returned and spoke to gardai before leaving the scene, an inquest heard.

Ruadhan Tracey (34) claimed at Dublin Coroner's Court that he had the green light when he hit Conor Hickey, of Saint Attracta Road, Cabra, at a junction in Fassaugh Road on the evening of December 2, 2011.

Conor suffered a fatal head injury and died the following day at Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Witness Mary Fenlon, who was waiting at the junction behind another car, said Conor had the green light to cross the road and had just stepped out when a silver car "came out of nowhere" and hit him. The car was "definitely travelling at speed", she said. The silver car then "just drove on".

Ms Fenlon's brother-in-law, John Blake, who was driving their car, said he had been keeping his eye on the road and the silver car appeared suddenly.

"It must have been flying," he said.

Mr Blake said Conor "must have gone 15, 20 foot into the air, his runners flying off like a rag doll".

"He flew through the air," he said.

Conor Hickey

Conor Hickey

Mr Blake went over to Conor and another person was checking for vital signs.

prayer "He was coughing up blood. I was lying beside him. I said a prayer for him," he said.

Paramedics found vital signs, but Conor was in cardiac arrest when he arrived at Temple Street. He was kept alive on life support until the following day.

The post-mortem was carried out by State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy who found Conor died from severe head injuries.

In March last year, Tracey pleaded guilty to careless driving causing Conor's death and received a 20-month sentence.

He was brought from prison to court. He told the coroner he was going no faster than 30mph and the lights were green for him to carry on through.

"Someone ran out and I hadn't time to stop," he said.

The inquest also heard from the deposition of Tracey's passenger, Graham Lynch, read in his absence, that they were on their way to buy drugs.

He told gardai he asked Tracey to stop after the accident.

Ruadhan Tracey outside court. Photo: Collins Courts

 Ruadhan Tracey

"He said, 'I can't stop, I've no licence and I'm looking at long enough in jail as it is'," he said.

They drove to a car park and inspected the car. Then they went back to the scene.

"Ruadhan was worried and he wanted to see what was going on," he said, "The gardai said the road was closed. We walked back to the car."

Tracey was arrested while in custody in Cloverhill Prison the following month.

The jury found that Conor died as a result of the car being driven without due care and attention and recommended maintenance of the lights be addressed.

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