Belfast Telegraph

I still believe he'll walk in door, says father of teenager killed in collision

By Paul Higgins

The grief-stricken father of a teenager killed when he was knocked down on his way home from work has spoken of how he still believes he is coming home.

David Higgins made an emotional statement at the inquest of his son Andrew (18) who died almost instantly when he was struck by a car in December 2012.

The talented young man died from serious injuries he suffered in the "dreadful and tragic" road traffic collision on the Monaghan Road close to Armagh, a coroner ruled yesterday.

In a statement to the inquest, sitting in Armagh, Mr Higgins told of how he and his wife Lorraine are still trying to come to terms with the tragic death which happened close to their home.

"Andrew, in my head, is still coming home. I still check his bedroom and expect him to come home," he said.

Speaking outside the court, the couple also spoke of their immense pride in Andrew who was a year into an engineering apprenticeship. Fighting back tears, Mr Higgins said life since the fatal accident had been "a disaster".

"He had his whole life ahead of him. You just don't get over it and we pass that spot everyday so it's like reliving a nightmare," he added.

The inquest heard how Andrew was knocked down by a Mercedes car as he crossed the Monaghan Road on December 7, 2012. The court was told how he had jumped out of his work van close to a laneway leading to his home. Andrew tried to cross over behind a lorry which was stationary, trying to turn right, but half way across he was hit by a car being driven by Mark McIvor, who was driving home to Cookstown.

Senior forensic engineer Gavin Dunn estimated that the Mercedes was travelling at just over 40mph when Andrew stepped out.

Giving evidence, Mr McIvor said he had slowed down approaching the lorry when "Andrew ran straight out in front of me". He said he "stood on the brakes" and considered swerving but had nowhere to go. A post mortem carried out by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Peter Ingram found that Andrew suffered a fractured skull and other injuries which would have caused a "fairly rapid death" at the scene of the accident.

Coroner Jim Kitson concluded that Andrew was "cautious and safety conscious", and while he had looked before crossing the road, he simply did not see the car.

"It goes without saying this is a most tragic event."

He said he was "satisfied on the balance of probabilities that he did run across the road directly in front of Mr McIvor's car and I have no doubt that Andrew was not aware when he started his dash across the road that there was a vehicle approaching".

Quotes

"Andrew, in my head, is still coming home. I still check his bedroom and expect him to come home. I have not only lost my son but my best friend.

"He had his whole life ahead of him. You just don't get over it and we pass that spot every day so it's like reliving a nightmare."

David Higgins, whose son Andrew was killed in a road traffic accident

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