Northern Ireland

Inquest told 'panic' may have caused go-kart death

Coroner John Leckey
Image caption Coroner John Leckey recorded that Mr McDonald died of a head injury

Panic may have caused the crash that killed a Limavady man during a day out with work mates at a go-kart track, an inquest has been told.

Kieran McDonald died at the Go Pro Kart circuit near Kilrea on July 10, 2010, when his vehicle left the circuit and collided with a parked car.

The inquest was told that the father-of-three veered through a gap in the tyre wall during a warm up lap.

The Coroner, John Leckey, recorded that the 28-year-old died of a head injury.

The court was told that Mr McDonald had been in "good form" and was looking forward to a day out with work mates from WD Meats prior to the tragedy.

Each member had already completed two practice races and organisers were marshalling semi finalists onto the grid following a warm-up lap.

According to several witnesses, drivers ahead of Mr McDonald approached the start line at a suitably slow speed but when he rounded the final bend he was travelling too fast.

Good condition

Race track co-owner, Richard Patterson, who administered CPR at the crash scene estimated his speed at 20-25 mph.

"He could have been going faster, but he should have been going an awful lot slower," he told the inquest.

An examination of the vehicle later revealed brakes throttle and steering were all in proper working order.

Emmerson Callendar, a mechanical engineer attached to Northern Ireland's Forensic Service, said an examination of the kart proved it had been in "good condition".

"The brakes were working, even with the throttle fully open," he said.

The coroner, John Leckey, expressed sympathy for Mr McDonald's family and recorded the finding that he died of a head injury sustained in a go-kart crash.

"The only explanation I can think of is that panic set in," he said.

An examination of the vehicle later revealed brakes throttle and steering were all in proper working order.