A newlywed woman killed in a road crash had a scan confirming a healthy pregnancy the day before her death.
Krista Rowan (31), a native of Ontario, Canada, but living in Co Sligo, died at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin on August 29th, 2020.
“She was a comedian, really light-hearted and funny. She was beautiful inside and out. She made people comfortable, she was a real authentic people person. There was no judgment, she really made people feel valued,” her devastated husband Eoin Rowan said, speaking after an inquest into her death.
The pair had married just weeks before the fatal accident that claimed his wife’s life and that of their first baby.
Ms Rowan was travelling northbound on the M1 on August 19th, 2020, to a work meeting in Newry when the crash occurred.
A lorry driver described how her car moved across the M1 in front of him from the fast lane to the hard shoulder before mounting a barrier, overturning and crashing into a signpost.
Lorry driver Barry Young pulled over and returned to the scene and held the woman’s head while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
“The last thing I was going to do was leave her by herself, it was important to me that someone was there,” Mr Young told Dublin Coroner’s Court.
Healthy and happy
The resumed inquest into Ms Rowan’s death heard from her husband Eoin who said she was healthy and happy. The pair had married just weeks before, having met four years earlier when they both lived in Toronto. The couple lived on three different continents together before moving to Ireland, where Ms Rowan excelled at her work as a clinical sales representative with medical device company Boston Scientific. Family members including her mother Kelly and sister Kaitlyn observed the inquest from Canada via video link.
“She was three months pregnant, a scan was done at Holles Street the day before and all was well.
“She was in perfect health, she was happy and excited. She’d had a full night’s sleep so tiredness not a factor,” Mr Rowan told the inquest.
His wife had a kale and berry smoothie for breakfast and he saw her to the door of their apartment in Ballsbridge, Dublin as she left, he said.
Her work meeting was scheduled for noon.
Sweeping right bend
At 11.04am, the young woman’s car failed to negotiate a sweeping right bend at Dunmore, Dundalk, Co Louth, one kilometre before Junction 17.
Dash camera footage of Ms Rowan’s car moving across the two lanes of the M1 was provided by two different lorry drivers to gardaí. There had been no attempt made to turn the steering wheel to negotiate a bend and no attempt to brake. Her seatbelt was engaged, she was not using a mobile phone and was not speeding, the court heard. There were no mechanical faults to the car.
Dundalk-based paramedic John Nixon arrived at the scene at 11.24am.
“There was a female driver, unresponsive, with shallow breaths indicative of a brain injury,” the paramedic said.
Ms Rowan was taken to Our Lady’s Hospital in Drogheda. She was later transferred to Beaumont Hospital where CT brain scans and MRI scans were conducted but her prognosis was poor.
She died on August 29th and her kidneys were donated, saving the lives of two others.
“It’s an acknowledgment of the great gift she imparted,” the coroner said of a letter furnished to the inquest from Organ Donation Transplant Ireland.
The cause of death was cerebral trauma due to a road traffic collision and the coroner recorded a narrative verdict, noting that baby Ree Rowan did not survive the impact of the fatal collision.