Taxi driver killed instantly after car veered off M50 into back of parked lorry ‘for no apparent reason’

A taxi driver died after his car veered off the M50 in Dublin for no apparent reason and crashed into a broken down lorry parked in the hard shoulder, an inquest has found.

he driver, Michael Sterio (70), a married father of six from Garthy Wood, Knocklyon, Co. Dublin, died instantly as a result of the collision which occurred on the south side of the M50 between Junction 12 (Firhouse) and Junction 12 13 (Dundrum/Sandyford) at approximately 2:40 p.m. on September 8, 2020.

At a session of the Dublin Borough Court yesterday, evidence was heard from several eyewitnesses that the victim’s silver Renault Fluence suddenly swerved from the left lane of the motorway onto the hard shoulder.

A Kilsaran Concrete driver, Denis Joyce, told the inquest that he had parked on the hard shoulder of the M50 after suffering a puncture on his Scandia tipper truck, which he was using to transport rock ​​from a quarry.

Mr Joyce said he had been sitting in the front passenger seat waiting for help for about 15 minutes when he heard a bang from the back of the truck.

When he went to find out what had happened, Mr Joyce said he found a car under his truck with a man slumped over the steering wheel.

Mr Joyce told Coroner Cróna Gallagher his truck was parked entirely off the M50 on the hard shoulder.

A motorist who drove directly behind Mr Sterio’s taxi, Gillian Comerford, said she saw the vehicle swerve onto the shoulder and crashed into the back of the truck.

“It went very smoothly. It just floated. There was no indicator,” she added.

Ms Comerford said there was no sign of the taxi slowing until about a second before the accident, when she saw the brake lights come on.

Another motorist, Sinead Young, who was driving roughly parallel to the taxi in the middle lane of the southbound M50, said she also saw it suddenly turn onto the hard shoulder.

She believed that the taxi driver was about 80 km/h like her on a section of the Autobahn with a 100 km/h speed limit.

Ms Young said the truck on the shoulder didn’t turn on its hazard lights to warn traffic, noting the accident happened “in the blink of an eye”.

A paramedic alerted to the collision by the eyewitnesses, Ken O’Dwyer, said Mr Sterio was “beyond medical attention” at the scene.

The investigation found that both the victim’s taxi and the truck were in good mechanical condition.

A forensic collision investigator, Garda Barry McCormack, said he found no evidence to explain why the deceased’s vehicle swerved onto the shoulder.

Neither the weather conditions nor the road surface contributed to the accident,

While there was a bend in the M50 at the scene of the crash, Garda McCormack said Mr Sterio would of course have turned onto the M50 fast lane rather than the hard shoulder had he been distracted while driving.

The witness said it was very likely that Mr Sterio did not lose conscious control of his vehicle.

“The use of the brake light shows that there was conscious control,” he remarked.

Responding to questions from the coroner, Garda McCormack said there was no evidence Mr Sterio made a turn in response to a maneuver by another motorist.

Investigating Officer Patrick Tarrant said no prosecution resulted from the case.

Garda Tarrant told the inquest that a mobile phone believed to have been with Mr Sterio at the time of the crash was never found at the scene.

Mr Sterio’s wife, Mairéad, said he had been in good form earlier that day, without anything out of the ordinary.

Autopsy results showed the victim died from multiple traumatic injuries sustained in a road traffic accident.

dr Gallagher said the autopsy found no evidence he suffered an acute medical event, although alcohol was not a factor.

A representative for the Sterio family addressed the request to thank all witnesses, gardaí and emergency services, saying they never held the truck driver in any way responsible for what happened. Taxi driver killed instantly after car veered off M50 into back of parked lorry ‘for no apparent reason’

Fry Electronics Team

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