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Farmer drowned in roadside stream


Anton McNulty

An accidental death was recorded in the death of a Claremorris farmer who drowned after his car became stuck beside a roadside stream.
Patrick Lavin (61) of Rockfield, Claremorris, a single man, was found dead in the stream by a farmer, who discovered his car parked awkwardly beside a county council yard at Ballinsmaula, Claremorris on April 21, 2017.
An investigation by Sergeant Seamus O’Regan, a forensic collision investigator, could not reach a definite conclusion as to what had happened. However, he stated that Mr Lavin may have being carrying out a reversing manoeuvre and his rear wheels may have become stuck on the grass as they could not gain any traction. The investigation found tyre marks at the edge of the embankment, and the car was in first gear.
Kevin Walsh, a farmer, told the inquest that he came on the scene before 7am and noticed a Nissan Almera parked awkwardly on the left hand side of the road. The car was still running and the driver’s door was open.
“Suddenly I looked into the stream and I could see a pair of brown shoes sticking up out of the water. I looked again and could see a man beneath the surface of the water. He was clearly dead,” he said.
The Gardaí were called and the car was moved to allow the Fire Service to remove the body from the water which was ten to 14 inches deep.
Dr Tomas Nemeth, consultant pathologist, explained that Mr Lavin died as a result of asphyxia due to drowning. A test for alcohol showed a concentration of 348mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Speaking before the jury recorded their verdict, coroner Patrick O’Connor said it appeared that Mr Lavin had fallen into the drain after reversing his car.
The jury recorded a verdict of accidental death, and Mr O’Connor expressed his sympathy to Mr Lavin’s family.

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