Belfast Telegraph

Families torn apart by deaths of lifelong friends in Co Tyrone road collision, inquest is told

By Donna Deeney

The brother of one of two teenagers killed in a Co Tyrone traffic collision in 2016 has told an inquest how his family has been "torn apart" by the death.

Maurice McCloughan (19) from Fintona and Killian Doherty (19) from Drumquin died at the scene of the crash on the A5 Doohery Road on December 10 shortly after 8am.

The Coroner's Court in Omagh yesterday heard a statement from State Pathologist Christopher Johnston in which he said any of the injuries suffered by Mr McCloughan and Mr Doherty were traumatic enough to cause death.

The court heard that Mr Doherty, who was driving a silver Renault Laguna car that collided with another vehicle, was over the legal alcohol limit for driving - 128 milligrams was detected in his blood, 48 above the limit of 80.

Maurice's brother Kevin told the court of the "massive" impact his brother's death has had.

Describing him as "the star" of the family of five, Kevin said his brother was close to everyone and that "the whole family has been torn apart".

He said his brother's death had "left a massive hole... and time doesn't make it any easier".

Mr Doherty's father Finbar Slane said his son's death has had "a devastating impact" on his family.

The driver of the second car involved in the collision also gave evidence at the inquest into the deaths of the two lifelong friends.

Gerard McCann told the court how he was driving along Doohery Road when "suddenly a ball of light" came towards him from the opposite lane of the road.

Mr McCann said he had no recollection of the impact and nor did he remember the air bags in his car deploying.

However, when he tried to open his door to get out he felt a lot of pain in his foot and was having difficulty breathing.

Mr McCann recalled the first thing he saw was "the body of a young man lying on the road", which he later learned was Maurice McCloughan.

Because of his own injuries, Mr McCann was unable to bend down to Mr McCloughan, but another man had stopped his car and was with him.

Mr McCann said he was also told about Mr Doherty, who was still inside the Laguna, which had flipped on to its roof.

Asked by Coroner Patrick McGurgan if he could remember much about the crash, Mr McCann said he couldn't tell if it was "a HGV or a Mini" that was coming towards him, all he could see was "a ball of lights".

Mr McCann described the experience as "traumatic" and told Mr McGurgan he had sustained broken ribs, as well as broken bones in a foot and wrist.

Mr McGurgan said that after reviewing photographs of the scene and the damage to the two cars it was "a miracle" Mr McCann was sitting in court and that he wasn't holding an inquest for three people.

In her evidence, Mr Doherty's aunt Carmel McCusker told the court that her nephew and Maurice arrived at her house before going out for the night with her daughter and her friend, and that they had had a few drinks while they were there.

Arrangements had been made for the two young men to stay at Ms McCusker's house overnight so she took Mr Doherty's keys for safekeeping.

She told the court Mr Doherty came into her bedroom around 7.20am and asked her for his keys because he had to go to his work.

She suggested to her nephew not to bother going to work that day and to stay in her house, but he told her he had to earn money to fix his car.

Ms McCusker became emotional in the witness box as she recalled how her nephew gave her a hug before leaving the room and going out the front door along with Mr McCloughan approximately half an hour before the crash that claimed both their lives.

The inquest continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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