A UCD student has described witnessing a cyclist being run over and killed by a large construction truck at a junction on Dublin’s N11 Stillorgan road near Donnybrook.
Harry Boland (19) from Leeson Park in Donnybrook died on April 18th 2018 when the truck, driven by David Morrisey (29), struck him at the junction of the N11 and Greenfield Park opposite RTÉ.
Mr Morrisey of Glendale Meadow, Leixlip, Co Kildare is on trial in the Dublin Circuit Court where he has pleaded not guilty to driving without due care and attention, thereby causing Mr Boland’s death on April 18th 2018.
A witness to the accident, Quentin Guillemot, then a civil engineering student from France attending UCD on placement, described walking down Greenfield Park towards the junction in the mid-afternoon and seeing a truck and a cyclist on the N11 waiting for the traffic lights to change.
The cyclist was to the left of the truck, said Mr Guillemot.
“The lights went green, the cyclist was going straight and the truck was turning left to Greenfield Park,” he told the jury and Judge Elma Sheahan, saying that he was “very near” to see what happened.
“The first contact [between the truck and the bike] was with the handle bars that touched the left hand of the truck first, before [the bike was] destabilised by the left side of the truck.
“The cyclist fell beneath the [truck]… As the truck was still going left, the cyclist went right between the 2nd and 3rd row of wheels.”
Cross-examined by Garnet Orange SC for Mr Morrisey, Mr Guillemot said he was “certain” there had been contact between the handlebars of Mr Boland’s bike and the truck, a DAF Rigid Truck owned by a civil engineering and plant hire company.
“The truck destabilised him by gently touching his [handle] bars,” said Mr Guillemot.
“It was an evasive action [by the cyclist] that went wrong,” countered Mr Orange. “Okay,” the witness replied with a shrug.
Earlier, another witness, Jason McMahon, a cyclist travelling immediately behind Mr Boland, described seeing Mr Boland waiting at the lights in the cycle lane to the left of the truck.
“It wasn’t long after that the lights went green and the bike went first, slightly ahead of the truck, and I did notice the indicator going on the truck at that stage,” he said.
“The truck began to turn, impacting the cyclist, the left front corner of the truck as it turned. The truck continued slowly for a few meters before the driver would have realised what had happened, and then it came to a standstill.
“I did think as I stopped that the cyclist in front was in a precarious position. He was in between the truck and the kerb and there might not be good visibility from the truck’s point of view.”
Mr Orange suggested that Mr Boland moved off from the lights first and, when he realised the truck was turning, took evasive action. Mr McMahon disagreed, saying the front corner of the truck hit Mr Boland’s bike first.
Another witness, Grainne Butler, was waiting in her car at the top of Nutley Lane, looking across the junction towards Greenfield Park. She saw a cyclist waiting at the lights on the opposite side of the truck from where she was when they changed.
“I don’t know how but the cyclist fell off his bike and the truck turned,” she told prosecuting counsel, Michael Hourigan BL.
“I saw [the cyclist] come around the corner from the Stillorgan side and, looking straight across at the junction, and I saw the cyclist fall, I saw him go.
“I saw the truck come around directly after this. The truck came around, and I felt he didn’t see the cyclist and progressed up the road a very short distance.”
An off-duty Dublin Fire Brigade paramedic, plus a doctor, gave emergency assistance before a passing ambulance was flagged down. A HSE ambulance arrived and took Mr Boland to St Vincent’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The trial continues on Thursday.