Accidental death recorded at inquest of 12-year-old boy who was driving car that collided with truck

Ewa Chojecka, mother of 12-year-old Wiktor Chojecki, at the Coroner's Court in Kilmallock. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

AN INQUEST held on Wednesday (May 31) into the death of a 12-year-old boy, who was driving a car that veered straight into the path of an articulated truck, has found his death was a “tragic accident”.

Wiktor Chojecki (12), a native of Poland who was living in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, died in the impact, which occurred just outside the village of Adare on February 11 2022.

The inquest, held at Limerick Coroner’s Court in Kilmallock heard that, unbeknownst to his mother, the boy took her car from their home on the night in question as the rest of the family were asleep.

The truck driver, Marek Spocinski, also a Polish native, living in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, was not injured.

The inquest heard Mr Spocinski was in no way at fault and had no chance of avoiding the oncoming car driven by the boy.

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Video footage of the collision was provided to Gardaí by Mr Spocinski’s employers.

In a deposition read out on his behalf, Mr Spocinski stated that the car “turned right into my path”.

He said he “hit the breaks but (the car) hit me straight on”.

He said he exited the truck and went looking for the car as “I thought it was under my truck”.

A passing motorist who stopped at the scene checked the car and advised Mr Spocinski “not to look” into the car.

The boy was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Coroner John McNamara said a Garda forensic examination of the vehicles, as well as the scene, found “no evidence of any technical faults that might have contributed to the collision” and the road surface was dry.

Mr Spocinski was driving within the speed limit in the area and in accordance with allowable time-breaks for drivers of heavy goods vehicles, it was heard.

A report compiled by a Garda Forensic Collision Investigator found that the car driven by the boy “crossed a broken white line to the incorrect side of the road and collided with the truck” and the speed of the car prior to the collision could not be determined.

A deposition from the boy’s mother, Ewa Chojecka, told how a few hours prior to the tragic death of her son, she had driven members her family to the airport after they had travelled from Poland to Limerick to gather together to remember her brother who died three months earlier.

She said she was awoken around 4am the following morning when Gardaí called to her home to inform her that Wiktor had been involved in a serious road traffic collision.

Consultant pathologist Dr Teresa Laszlo told the inquest that she performed a “limited post mortem” on the body, as the boy’s remains had tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr Laszlo said the boy suffered multiple traumatic injuries in the collision, complete fractures, as well as multiple lacerations.

In line with routine normal autopsy procedures, Dr Laszlo checked for traces of intoxicants in the deceased’s system but none were found.

Dr Laszlo said she determined that the cause of death was due to “polytrauma consistent with a road traffic collision”.

The coroner said it was “quite clear Wiktor came across the roadway” and there was “no fault with the truck driver”.

Mr McNamara said there was “no evidence to suggest the incident was an intentional act on Wiktor’s behalf … he may have fallen asleep at the wheel”.

“He took the car out late at night, unfortunately, and it was a terrible tragic accident.”

Mr McNamara extended his sympathies to the boy’s parents, who attended the inquest with a Garda family liaison officer.