Belfast Telegraph

Woman (58) died after driver went through a red light, inquest told

A forensic scientist investigating a fatal road collision in Omagh has told a Coroner's Court he believed the driver of the car that struck a pedestrian on a crossing had driven through a red light (stock photo)
A forensic scientist investigating a fatal road collision in Omagh has told a Coroner's Court he believed the driver of the car that struck a pedestrian on a crossing had driven through a red light (stock photo)
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A forensic scientist investigating a fatal road collision in Omagh has told a Coroner's Court he believed the driver of the car that struck a pedestrian on a crossing had driven through a red light.

David Nicholson was speaking at the inquest into the death of Eva Csonkova (58) from Newbrighton Street, Omagh on January 7, 2015.

Coroner Suzanne Anderson said in light of his evidence she would send a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Nicholson said timing tests he carried out on the lights at the James Street crossing in the town led him to believe the green man would have been flashing when Mrs Csonkova stepped from the pavement.

He explained that the timing of the lights for pedestrians was a steady green man lit for six seconds, which would then flash for a further six seconds. During these 12 seconds, plus an additional one second, the traffic light for drivers would remain red before turning to flashing amber and then green.

Ms Anderson said she accepted Mr Nicholson's evidence and that of another witness, Pauline McCullagh, who said she had pressed the button at the crossing and that the green man was lit to allow her to cross moments before the fatal collision.

Ms McCullagh said she had just stepped onto the pavement at the other side of the crossing when she heard a thud, turned around and saw Mrs Csonkova lying on the road.

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Mr Nicholson's evidence was contrary to that given by the driver of the car, Ms Santosh Passi, who said the traffic light had been green when she drove through the pedestrian crossing and that Mrs Csonkova had been standing on the pavement.

Ms Passi told the court she had been driving down James Street at between 20 and 25mph at around 3pm and it was "raining very heavily".

As she approached the pedestrian crossing, she said she saw a woman, Mrs Csonkova, standing on the pavement with the hood of her coat up, and that as she drove across the crossing she heard a thud.

Ms Passi said she stopped her car a short distance away, got out and went to the crossing where Mrs Csonkova was lying on the road.

Mrs Csonkova's daughter, Dominka Szaboova, told the court she received a call from her son's nursery at around 3.20pm to say her mother hadn't arrived to collect him. She made her way to the nursery and on the way there came across the scene of the collision and discovered her mother was in the ambulance.

Mrs Szaboova told the court her mother, who was a widow, had come to Omagh 18 months prior to her death to be close to her and her children.

She said: "I was her only daughter, I really miss her and sometimes I feel I have no one. I know I have my husband but there was no one like my mother."

The court heard Mrs Csonkova died from head injuries at South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen the day after the collision, having never regained consciousness.

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