A 22-YEAR-OLD German motorcyclist was killed instantly following a head-on collision with a car at Dreeny Bridge, Bauravilla, outside Skibbereen, an inquest heard last week.
Daniel Muchalla from Markdorf, Germany was on holidays in West Cork with his friend Nadine Dahlke when the accident occurred on July 15th, 2015 and coroner Frank O’Connell said it was a ‘pretty horrific crash’.
Mr Muchalla was killed instantly, according to assistant state pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster.
Giving evidence in Clonakilty District Courthouse, Dr Bolster said there were no drugs or alcohol detected in Mr Muchalla’s body.
Supt Ger O’Mahony said that Nadine Dahlke could not attend the inquest but had signed a statement to gardaí following the collision.
In her statement, Nadine said that she and Daniel had been on holidays in West Cork and were both travelling on separate motorbikes.
They had stayed in Skibbereen on Tuesday, July 14th. The following day they drove out to Mizen Head and on the way back to Skibbereen they had stopped off in Bantry.
Nadine said that, at around 3pm, they decided to head back to Skibbereen to their B&B on North Street and were using a map to get back.
‘We came up to a T-junction to turn right and I was driving behind Daniel when I saw him go to the right-hand side of the road. There was a car travelling in the opposite direction and his motorbike collided with it and his body was flung over the car,’ said Nadine.
‘I ran over to help him and a lady then came out of a house and brought me inside. I later identified Daniel’s body with Gda Una Collins of Skibbereen Garda Station.’
The driver of the other vehicle, Conor Goldsmith, also attended the inquest and, in his statement, which was read out by Supt O’Mahony, he said he had been driving his mother’s Volkswagen Bora that afternoon and he had just passed The Coachman’s Inn in Bauravilla when he saw a motorbike coming straight at him.
‘I had no time to react and I hit the brakes and covered my face and closed my eyes,’ it read. ‘The next thing I knew the windscreen caved in and I tried to open the door but couldn’t,’ said Mr Goldsmith.
‘A woman then came and opened the door and I got out and made my way up the road and rang my mother. I was attended by a paramedic and Ieft the scene by ambulance to CUH.
‘It was a split-second collision and I had no chance to swerve,’ he added.
Rebecca Ryan, who lives in Baurravilla and directly opposite where the crash occurred, told the inquest she remembers her windows shaking when the crash occurred.
In her statement, which was read out by Supt O’Mahony, Rebecca said that, when she heard a loud bang, she ran outside onto the road and saw a body lying on the ground.
‘I was in my bare feet and I saw a woman there and I put my arms around her and I rang 999. I then ran into the house, grabbed my shoes and told my children to stay inside,’ said Rebecca.
‘When I came out, two people were already doing CPR on the body of the man on the ground and I then made my way to Conor in the car.’
Frank O’Connell asked Rebecca if Nadine was the first person she met when she came out of the house and Rebecca said she was just dismounting from her bike when she came out of her house.
Another witness who arrived on the scene of the accident was Clare O’Sullivan, who had been travelling from Baltimore to Bantry on that stretch of road.
‘The traffic was at a standstill and I could see there was an accident ahead so I just grabbed a blanket and ran out and then saw a body on the ground,’ said Clare.
‘I began doing CPR on the man and then the doctor arrived and certified him dead. I think it could have been five to 10 minutes before the doctor arrived.’
Darren Scott also told the inquest that he had been driving along that road that afternoon when he heard a loud crash.
‘I saw a woman shouting in German and then saw the body on the ground. I went over to him with Clare O’Sullivan and we both started CPR on the man and then the doctor arrived,’ said Mr Scott.
Dr Michael McNamara arrived at the scene of the collision and in statement read out in court by Supt O’Mahony, Dr McNamara said that he checked to see if the man had a pulse but he wasn’t breathing. He pronounced Daniel dead at 3.55pm.
Garda Una Collins from Skibbereen Garda Station also told the inquest that the station received a call at 3.50pm regarding a serious collision at Dreeny Bridge, Bauravilla. Garda Collins arrived on the scene with her colleague Garda Karen O’Flynn and they saw the deceased man on the ground, while paramedics were treating the driver of the Volkswagen Bora.
‘I spoke with the driver and recorded his details and I also spoke to Nadine and she confirmed that she witnessed the collision,’ said Garda Collins.
‘Dr McNamara approached me then and told me that the motorcyclist had died. I recorded this in my notebook and examined the car and motorbike and I liaised with the advanced paramedic who attended the scene. The driver of the car was also breathalysed and the result was negative.’
Garda Tom Brosnan, PSV inspector, told the inquest that he carried out an inspection of both vehicles at the Garda compound in Macroom on July 17th and was satisfied that both vehicles were roadworthy prior to the collision.
Coroner Frank O’Connell said that driving on the right-hand side of the road would have been Mr Muchalla’s natural position on the road at home.
‘Perhaps it was a lapse of concentration and he drove on the wrong side of the road and the driver of the oncoming car was coming up to a blind junction and had no room to turn or avoid the motorbike,’ said Mr O’Connell.
The jury at the inquest returned a verdict of death due to a collision with a car.