An inquest held Wednesday, into the death of a 12-year-old boy who was driving a car that veered straight into the path of an articulated truck, has found his death was a “tragic accident”.
The boy, Wiktor Chojecki, a native of Poland, who was living in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, died in the impact, which occurred just outside the village of Adare on February 11th 2022.
The inquest, held at Limerick Coroner’s Court, Kilmallock, heard that, unbeknown to his mother, the boy took her Nissan Qashqai from their home on the night in question as the rest of his family were asleep.
The truck driver, Marek Spocinski, also a Polish native, who was living in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, was not injured, but he was left severely shaken by the tragedy.
Mr Spocinski was in no way at fault and had no chance of avoiding the oncoming car driven by the boy, the inquest heard.
Video footage of the collision was provided to gardaí by Mr Spocinski’s employers.
The footage recorded from a dash cam that was mounted on the front of the truck, showed the Nissan Qashqai travel across the road and straight into Mr Spocinski’s path before 2am.
In a deposition read out on his behalf, Mr Spocinski stated that the Qashqai “turned right into my path”.
He said he “hit the brakes but (the car) hit me straight on”.
He said he exited the truck and went looking for the car as “I thought it was under my truck”.
A passing motorist who stopped at the scene checked the car and advised Mr Spocinski “not to look” into the Qashqai.
Paramedics arrived within seven minutes of receiving the 999/112 call and the boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
Coroner, John McNamara, said a garda forensic examination of the vehicles as well as the scene found “no evidence of any technical faults that might have contributed to the collision” and the road surface was dry.
Mr Spocinski was driving within the speed limit in the area, and, in accordance with allowable time-breaks for rivers of heavy goods vehicles, it was heard.
A report compiled by a Garda Forensic Collision Investigator found that the Qashqai “crossed a broken white line to the incorrect side of the road and collided with the truck” and the sped of the car prior to the collision could not be determined.
A deposition from the boy’s mother, Ewa Chojecka, told how a few hours prior to the tragic death of her son, she had driven members her family to the airport after they had travelled from Poland to Limerick to gather together to remember her brother who died three months earlier.
Ms Chojecka said she was “tired” after she had returned home and she went to bed around 10.30pm.
She said Wiktor was in happy form as he had got a “new haircut” that day.
She said that as she went to sleep that night she told Wiktor not to play his play station video game console too late as it was a school night.
She said she was awoken around 4am the following morning when gardai called to her home to inform her that Wiktor had been involved in a serious road traffic collision.
Consultant pathologist Dr Teresa Laszlo, told the inquest that she performed a “limited post-mortem” on the body, as the boy’s remains had tested positive for Covid-19.
Dr Laszlo said the boy suffered multiple traumatic injuries in the collision, complete fractures as well as multiple lacerations.
In line with routine normal autopsy procedures, Dr Laszlo checked for traces of intoxicants in the deceased’s system but none were found.
Dr Laszlo said she determined that the cause of death was due to “polytrauma consistent with a road traffic collision”.
The coroner said it was “quite clear Wiktor came across the roadway” and there was “no fault with the truck driver, there was nothing he could do, he tried to break, but he had nowhere to go”.
Mr McNamara said there was “no evidence to suggest the incident was an intentional act on Wiktor’s behalf… he may have fallen asleep at the wheel”.
“He took the car out late at night, unfortunately, and it was a terrible tragic accident.”
Mr McNamara extended his sympathies to the boy’s parents who attended the inquest with a garda family liaison officer.