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Father of tragic teen warns over phone calls by drivers

By Brendan McDaid

The father of a Londonderry teenager killed in a car crash while using his mobile phone yesterday called on young people to take more care when driving.

Terence O’Toole was speaking after the inquest into the death of his 18-year-old son.

Senior Coroner James Leckey recorded that Kevin O’Toole from Gweebarra Park died from multiple injuries as a result of the car accident on the Culmore Road on June 23, 2009.

He also said that it seemed likely that Kevin O’Toole may have been distracted while driving by using his mobile phone.

It emerged at the inquest that Mr O’Toole was found with the phone at the scene of the crash.

“My understanding is Kevin was driving within the speed limit,” Mr Lecky said.

“Immediately after the accident he was found with a mobile phone. So it seems likely that he may have been distracted while driving on Culmore by using the mobile phone.”

The coroner said the circumstances surrounding Mr O’Toole’s death highlighted the danger of using a mobile phone when |driving.

He also said that he had been told of new regulations being examined that may be brought in over the next few years to ban the use of even hands-free telephone kits and Blue Tooth in cars.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr O’Toole urged young people to be careful while driving.

“Kevin didn’t smoke, he didn’t drink, he didn’t do drugs. He was just a workaholic, a hard grafter. It would have been out of character for him to use his phone but what’s done is done,” he said.

“It is not just the mobile phones. The younger ones could just give themselves another two or three minutes to get to wherever they are going. They should take their time and give themselves a wee bit of a fighting chance.”

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