Driver’s death was misadventure

A Coroner’s Jury heard evidence on
19 February and determined that Sarah Roy, 75, died by misadventure following a
traffic accident on 6 March 2006.

Mrs. Roy, better known as Susan,
was a long-serving member of the Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps.

The investigating officer determined
that the accident occurred on Shamrock
Road around 1.15pm when the car Mrs. Roy was driving
left its side of the road and veered into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

That vehicle was driven by Yannick
McLaughlin, then 22. He was carrying one passenger. They both had to be taken
out of their vehicle by the Fire Department.

Mrs. Roy was reported conscious and
alert at the accident scene. Mr. McLaughlin said he heard the lady tell officers
not to worry about her, but to “see after those guys”.

Dr. Tanja Ebanks said Mrs. Roy was
taken to the hospital by ambulance. She was conscious and complaining of pain
in the abdomen and left chest.

She responded well to intravenous
fluid. X-rays and ultrasound were used to determine the extent of her injuries
and she was taken into the operating theatre.

While there, she stopped breathing
and did not respond to CPR. She was pronounced dead at 4.18pm.

Government pathologist Dr. S. K.
Joyti attended the inquest conducted by Queen’s Coroner Margaret Ramsay-Hale
and he explained terminology used in the report of an autopsy conducted by Dr.
John Heidingsfelder.

Dr. Heidingsfelder determined that
the physical cause of death was the presence of a significant amount of blood in
the abdominal cavity. This was caused by a tearing of blood vessels in the
membrane of the small intestine.

Blunt impact trauma in a car
accident may be caused by impacting
the steering wheel or other hard structure, Mr. Joyti said. Mrs. Roy also had
front rib fractures on both sides. These injuries were consistent with hitting
the steering wheel.

Mr. Joyti explained that the
average body contains 6,000 cubic centimetres of blood. The autopsy found 2,500
cubic centimetres, or nearly 40 per cent, of the body’s blood pooled in the
abdomen.

The pathologist said Mrs. Roy’s
injuries were consistent with her being alert initially and then lapsing into
unconsciousness. He said when a patient loses more than 10 per cent of blood
volume, he or she will lapse into hemorrhagic shock because of the lack of
nutriments to the body’s organs.

The autopsy report contained a
summary of the accident, noting it took place near Agricola Drive, which is near Starapple Road,
where Mrs. Roy had her residence. It was uncertain why her vehicle might have
swerved. Examination of her vehicle revealed no evidence of application of her
brakes.

A laboratory test for
the presence of alcohol in her vitreous fluid was negative.

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