Saturday 26 May 2018

Four victims of fatal car crashes were not wearing their seatbelts

The scene of a triple fatal crash on the outskirts of Letterkenny on Thursday morning Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
The scene of a triple fatal crash on the outskirts of Letterkenny on Thursday morning Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

As the death toll on Irish roads climbed by 12 this week it has emerged that four people who died in crashes in Donegal were not wearing seatbelts.

Yesterday, three young friends were killed when the cars they were travelling in collided on a back road in Co Donegal at 1am.

The three friends, named locally as Steven McGrath (19) Theresa Robinson (20) and Kaylem O Murachaidh, were killed instantly.

The accident - on a back road between Letterkenny and Drumkeen at Trentaboy at 1am yesterday morning - came just 20 hours after Dermot Boyle (19) and Barney McGinley (28) lost their lives in the same county.

A garda source confirmed that in relation to the Donegal crashes, at least four of the five people who died were not wearing seatbelts.

Meanwhile, a well-known drummer died following a car crash in Co Galway.

Tony Rice (26) was a drummer with popular band Big Generator. A statement from the band yesterday evening said it was "officially the saddest day in Big G history".

"We are devastated to have to announce that we lost our musical brother and friend Tony Rice today in a tragic car accident. Tony passed away in intensive care at UCHG surrounded by all of the band, family and friends.

"Tony was pure raw talent and truly lived for his drums, we are upset beyond words and all our thoughts are with his family at this time ... Tony our hearts are broken "we miss ya brother. RIP," it added.

The accident occurred at 2.45am yesterday at Coolagh, Gurtymadden on the N65 Loughrea to Killimor road.

In the Donegal crash in which the three young people died so severe was the impact of the two vehicles, a Toyota Carina and a Peugeot 306, that two of the victims were thrown from the cars. The horrific scene was discovered by a passing motorist.

The Garda Ombudsman has confirmed it is investigating garda involvement in the first crash in which Mr Boyle and Mr McGinley were killed.

They died when the car in which they were travelling struck a van on the dual carriageway outside Letterkenny.

Garda are still trying to determine why the men were on the wrong side of the road when they struck the van at 4.45am.


An investigation is also trying to determine if a robbery at Rosie's Bar in Drumkeen a short time earlier was connected.

The Garda Ombudsman has confirmed they are investigating Garda "interaction" with the car in which the two men died.

However it is not believed that gardai were involved in a pursuit with the men's Mitsubishi Charisma car but merely did a U-turn after passing them to respond to another call.

Thinking they were being followed the men sped up and ended up on the wrong side of the dual carriageway before colliding head-on with the driver of the Renault van.

There have been 102 roads deaths in Ireland in 2016.

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