Boy (2) and girl (7) hospitalised after cars collide head-on
A two-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl were among six people rushed to hospital when a car that was being followed by gardai was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle.
The incident happened on a rural road on the Laois/Kildare border outside Monasterevin at around lunchtime yesterday.
A car that had been spotted by gardai from the Regional Support Unit was being pursued from a distance on the Portarlington to Monasterevin Road near Ballagh at around midday after officers observed it being driving eratically.
There were three young men described as being in their late teens and early 20s in it. Two of the men are from Laois and known to gardai.
A short time later, their Offaly-registered car crashed head-on into a vehicle being driven in the other direction.
That car was being driven by a man who had the two children on board.
The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) confirmed that investigators attended the scene of the crash as gardai had been monitoring one of the cars involved.
However, it is believed they had been observing the car from some distance when the crash happened.
A garda spokesperson said GSOC investigators had examined the scene and had referred the case back to officers to conduct their investigations.
After the crash, the officers who had been following the car were the first to come across the scene and raised the alarm.
Two of the young men in the car were said to have sustained "serious injuries" including a punctured lung, with one of them taken to Tallaght Hospital.
Another man was rushed to Tallaght as well, but later transferred to Beaumont Hospital, which specialises in head injuries, to receive further treatment.
The third occupant of the car was not believed to be seriously injured. He was taken to Tullamore General Hospital.
The two children in the second car sustained injuries in the collision, as did the driver.
They were all taken to Tullamore General Hospital, but their condition was unclear last night.
Emergency workers had to cut the side off one of the cars to free the injured.
Both vehicles had their engines pushed back as far as the front wheels by the force of the collision. The road was closed off for some time to allow for a technical examination of the crash scene.
Gardai from Kildare have issued an appeal for anyone who witnessed the crash to come forward.
One man who was in the area at the time took to social media to say he was lucky to escape unhurt.
"Nearly wiped out this morning," he tweeted. "Too close for comfort. Squad cars, ambulances and even a helicopter.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Kildare gardai on 045 527730.