Dublin teen killed on stolen motorbike after evading gardaí in M50 chase, inquest hears

Jordan 'Romo' Kennedy (19) died in a single-vehicle collision on Kilshane Road in the early hours of April 2nd, 2021.
Dublin teen killed on stolen motorbike after evading gardaí in M50 chase, inquest hears

Seán McCárthaigh

A Dublin teenager was killed after a stolen motorcycle he was riding collided with a tree in Finglas shortly after he had eluded gardaí during a high-speed chase on the M50 two years ago, an inquest has heard.

Jordan “Romo” Kennedy (19), of Dunsink Gardens, Finglas, died in a single-vehicle collision on Kilshane Road, Finglas in the early hours of April 2nd, 2021.

An inquest into his death at Dublin District Coroner’s Court on Wednesday heard that a post-mortem found he had consumed cocaine and cannabis before the fatal incident, while he had also been riding a motorcycle without a safety helmet.

It concluded the victim, who worked as an apprentice at Fresh Air Conditioning Ireland in Finglas, died from multiple traumatic head injuries consistent with a single-vehicle collision.

A store operative, Konstantinos Zanos, told the inquest he was driving home from work at around 1.25am when he noticed “something black” lying in the middle of Kilshane Road.

Mr Zanos said he was too shocked to get out of his vehicle but noticed that it was a person lying on their side with blood coming from their head.

He told the coroner, Clare Keane, that there was no movement from the victim, while he had seen no other vehicles on the road before or after coming on the scene until emergency services arrived.

Erratic driving

The inquest heard that gardaí on patrol on St Colmcille’s Way near the Knocklyon junction on the M50 in south Dublin had earlier that night noticed a vehicle later identified as a Honda Accord with no lights travelling at high speed and in an erratic manner.

Garda Miriam O’Brien said she also noticed a motorcycle being driven in a similar fashion in the same direction and was uncertain if the two vehicles were racing each other.

She then saw both the car and the motorcycle disappearing out of sight heading in a northbound direction on the M50.

However, members of a patrolling Garda Armed Support Unit who had been alerted about the suspicious activity spotted the two vehicles in the distance on the M50 near Blanchardstown at around 1.20am.

Sergeant Jason Walsh said gardaí activated their blue lights but they were struggling to keep sight of the vehicles which he estimated were travelling at speeds of up to 180km/h.

The sergeant said the motorcycle appeared to be alternatively swerving in front and behind the car.

He described seeing the two vehicles join the M2 from the M50 before they took an exit off the motorway at Tyrellstown.

Sgt Walsh said the vehicles were effectively invisible as they could only be spotted when their drivers had braked because they were not using their headlights.

At Kilshane Cross, he said the motorcyclist turned right, while the driver of the car turned in the other direction.

Driving in wrong direction

Sgt Walsh said gardaí pursuing the vehicles were stood down for safety reasons after information was conveyed that the Honda was seen travelling down the M50 in the wrong direction.

It was later found abandoned on the side of the M50 near the Finglas exit.

Sgt Walsh told the inquest that he proceeded to Kilshane Road where an accident had been reported.

He said gardaí provided CPR to the injured party who was now known to be Mr Kennedy but he was pronounced dead at the scene at 2.26am.

In reply to a question from the jury, Sgt Walsh said he did not know if the drivers of the two vehicles were aware they were being pursued.

A member of another AASU on patrol, Garda Conor Mallon, who was the first to come on the scene of the crash, found the motorcycle in a ditch on the side of the road.

The inquest heard the Yamaha high-performance, sports motorcycle had been reported stolen from Cloragh Mills Apartments on Edmonstown Road, Rathfarnham after two chains were cut off the vehicle.

Although he detected a faint pulse, Garda Mallon said Mr Kennedy was unresponsive and had a large pool of blood coming from his head.

The inquest heard an examination of the motorcycle by a Garda vehicle inspector found no defects that could have contributed to the fatal collision.

A forensic collision investigator, Garda Damien Farrell, said the single-vehicle collision had occurred after the motorcyclist had failed to negotiate a bend in the road.

Although the case had been notified to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, the inquest heard no file had been forwarded to the DPP by gardaí as it had been established that no other vehicle was involved in the collision.

CCTV footage

Detective Inspector Bronagh O’Reilly said CCTV footage showed that no other vehicle followed Mr Kennedy down Kilshane Road for eight minutes and it was another five minutes before a garda car came along the road.

Commenting on the post-mortem results, Dr Keane observed that cocaine was known to increase risk-taking behaviour in a user, while it could also impact on a person’s driving ability.

A jury of three women and three men returned a verdict of misadventure.

Solicitor for Mr Kennedy’s family, Jeffrey Kenny, said Jordan was a young man, with a big interest in horses, who was starting out in life having completed his Leaving Certificate.

Mr Kenny said the victim’s family – which included his father, Ovidu Selegeanu, who attended the inquest – were appreciative of the assistance by gardaí at the scene of the crash.

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