Boy Who Died After Laois Quadbike Accident Took Vehicle Without Permission

Jokubas Sliosoras died from his injuries in February 2021.

A young boy (9) who died from injuries sustained in an accident on a quadbike in Co Laois last year had taken the vehicle without his father’s permission, an inquest has heard.

Jokubas Sliosoras, who came originally from Lithuania, was pronounced dead at Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street in Dublin on February 11, 2021.

A sitting of Dublin City Coroner’s Court heard the young boy had been transported by air ambulance from near his home in Dooary, Ballyroan, Co Laois the previous morning after his father had discovered him lying in a field with a quadbike turned on its side.

In a written statement, the victim’s father, Donatos Sliosoras said his family had finished breakfast at around 10.15am on February 10, 2021.

Mr Sliosoras said he believed Jokubas had gone out to play with the two young daughters, aged 9 and 12, of his friend, Ramunas Viscinis, who was staying in a mobile home on his property at the time.

He said his wife, Vilama, asked him to check at 10.50am on their son.

Mr Sliosoras said he searched his yard after finding that Jokubas was not playing with his friend’s two daughters and discovered that his Can-Am Outlander quadbike was missing from a shed.

He said he went up a hill in a nearby field and found his son lying on the ground "unconscious with his eyes rolled back in his head."

Mr Sliosoras said he put a jacket around the boy and ran back to his house to raise the alarm.

He said he returned to his son and stayed with him until an ambulance crew arrived some 30 minutes later.

Mr Sliosoras said paramedics worked on Jokubas until the ambulance brought him to a nearby GAA grounds where he was being transported by helicopter to a hospital in Dublin.

A HSE paramedic, Frank O’Connor, said the victim was making groaning noises which suggested he might have suffered head injuries but was otherwise unresponsive.

The inquest heard a forensic examination of the quadbike, whose mudguards were damaged, found no pre-collision, mechanical defects with the off-road vehicle.

Gardaí who investigated the incident said the quadbike was used in the business on Mr Sliosoras’ property.

The coroner, Clare Keane, was told that Jokubas had only moved from Lithuania a few months earlier with his mother to join his father in Ireland and was due to begin school the following September.

Mr Sliosoras told gardaí that his son loved the quadbike but had only used it a few times so would not be familiar with its operation.

Gardaí were informed that Jokubas was only allowed to drive it under the strict supervision of his father.

Mr Sliosoras said the vehicle was normally locked so that no child could use it.

However, he had used it himself the previous evening and believed he had not locked it away.

Gardaí said the incident occurred on a field with a slope and they believed the young boy was not skilled enough to drive it safely at the location.

The inquest heard there was no evidence that Jokubas had been wearing a safety helmet.

A consultant paediatric surgeon who treated the boy at CHI Temple Street, Sami Awadalla, said Jokubas had been under the quadbike for around an hour and had suffered a number of complications including a blood clotting disorder, a build-up of acid due to kidney failure and cardiac tamponade (where the cavity around the heart fills with blood or other fluid).

Dr Awadalla said his deteriorating condition meant doctors were unable to perform surgery to treat the clotting disorder and he suffered a number of cardiac arrests in hospital before being pronounced dead.

Although neither of the boy’s parents were present in court, the coroner said the Sliosoras family were happy for the inquest to proceed in their absence.

Dr Keane said a post-mortem had shown that Jokubas had died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries associated with the accident involving the quadbike.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, the coroner described details of the evidence as "heart-breaking" and observed how the fatal accident had happened "in the blink of an eye."

The coroner said the case was "particularly poignant" given how Jokubas had moved to Ireland and was looking forward to going to school.

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