Teenager died from being struck by wing mirror after getting off school bus – inquest

Teenager Died From Being Struck By Wing Mirror After Getting Off School Bus – Inquest
Aisling Kennedy (13) of Glasha, Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford, died at Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street in Dublin on July 12th, 2022 – over three months after the incident.
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Seán McCárthaigh

A Waterford teenager suffered fatal injuries after being struck by the wing mirror of a van moments after getting off a school bus near her home two years ago, an inquest has heard.

Aisling Kennedy (13) of Glasha, Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford, died at Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street in Dublin on July 12th, 2022 – over three months after the incident.


The first year student at Presentation Convent in Clonmel never regained consciousness after being transported to the hospital by air ambulance following the accident a short distance from her home on April 7th, 2022.

The driver of the school bus, John O’Brien, told an inquest into her death at Dublin District Coroner’s Court that he had pulled into the left-hand side of the road at a crossroads near Glasha.

Mr O’Brien said several vehicles overtook his bus while he had stopped to allow Aisling to get out.

The bus driver said she was standing to the left of the bus as he moved off to continue his journey.


Mr O’Brien said neither he nor any of the remaining students on the bus witnessed the accident, and he only learnt about what had happened when he was subsequently contacted by his employer.

In reply to questions from the coroner, Cróna Gallagher, the witness said students on the bus were generally advised to wait for the bus to move off before crossing a road.

A motorist, John Fahy, said he was returning from working in Dungarvan, Co Waterford in a van with two of his employees when he saw the school bus stopped on the opposite side of the road to his direction of travel.

Mr Fahy, who runs a construction firm based in Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois, recalled that he had slowed down as a number of other vehicles coming towards him were overtaking the bus.


The witness said that he just caught sight of a girl approaching his van from the right-hand side as he was driving past the bus before hearing a bang.

Mr Fahy said he stopped the vehicle and got one of his employees to ring the emergency services after seeing the girl lying on the ground.

He told the coroner that everything happened “in an instant” but he believed the girl had appeared from a car that was behind the bus.


One of Mr Fahy’s passengers, Mark Kelly, also gave evidence of seeing a girl coming out onto the road and seeing the van’s wing mirror move after hearing a bang.


Mr Kelly recalled that Aisling had remained unresponsive while he held the girl’s head in a steady position until emergency services arrived.

He estimated that the van had been travelling at around 40km/h at the time of the accident.

Another eyewitness, Catherine Troy, who was travelling towards Ballymacarbry from Clonmel, said she had seen a girl waiting on the side of the road at the back of the bus.

Ms Troy said she was looking in her rear-view mirror when she saw the teenager emerge from behind the bus in a split second “straight into the side of the van.”


She told the inquest that she doubted that she had seen something fly up into the air until she checked again and saw the girl on the ground.

Another motorist, Linda Skehan, who came on the scene and provided first aid to Aisling, said she knew from Mr Fahy’s demeanour with his head on his hands that something had happened.

Ms Skehan recalled that he told her: “She just ran straight out.”

She said they covered the victim with blankets and coats after detecting that she still had a pulse.

The inquest heard that an examination of Mr Fahy’s Ford Transit van, which had a damaged wing mirror, found the vehicle to be otherwise in good roadworthy condition.

A forensic collision investigator, Garda Maurice Mahon, said the incident had happened on a straight stretch on the R671 regional road between Clonmel and Ballymacarbry in dry, bright conditions.

Garda Mahon said there was no evidence of pre-impact skidding by the van and it was impossible to determine the exact location of the impact.

He said the damage to the vehicle was “consistent with a van and a pedestrian glancing off each other” but it was not possible to estimate the speed of the vehicle at the time.

Garda Conor O’Donovan confirmed that Mr Fahy had a full driving licence and had tested negative for alcohol and drugs.

Garda O’Donovan said he believed Aisling had come from “a blind spot” which left the van driver with “no opportunity to react.”

The witness observed that if the victim had been an adult, she might only have been hit on the shoulder by the wing mirror.

The inquest heard Aisling was placed in a medically induced coma by doctors at Temple Street but her condition never improved despite several operations.


A postmortem confirmed she died from traumatic brain injuries she had suffered from being struck by the wing mirror with bronchial pneumonia a contributory factor.

Aisling’s parents, Thomas and Louise Kennedy, attended the inquest but did not give evidence to the court.

Ms Kennedy had previously told an earlier sitting of the case in June 2023 how she formally identified her daughter’s body to gardaí.

Dr Gallagher, was also informed on that occasion that the DPP had directed that no prosecution should arise from the circumstances of Aisling’s death after reviewing a Garda file on the case.

Her parents also confirmed to the coroner that they were not appealing the DPP’s decision.

Aisling is also survived by her sisters, Eimear and Aoife.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, Dr Gallagher said the incident had come “out of the blue ”and could not have been predicted or prevented.

The coroner said Aisling had been very unfortunate to have received the glancing blow from the van’s wing mirror.

“On another occasion, it might just be a broken arm,” she remarked.

Offering her sincere sympathy to the teenager’s parents, Dr Gallagher said she could not imagine what they had gone through over the months between the accident and her death.

“I’m sure the shock is with you to this day,” she added.

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