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Mum's tragedy to help gardai avoid crash risks

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Elber with her husband Con and son Oisin (Inset: Marek Wojciechowski )

Elber with her husband Con and son Oisin (Inset: Marek Wojciechowski )

Elber Twomey. Photo: John Tarrant.

Elber Twomey. Photo: John Tarrant.

Elber with her husband Con and son Oisin (Inset: Marek Wojciechowski )

A WOMAN whose entire family was wiped out by a suicidal taxi driver will have her tragic case used in a special new Garda College training module.

Garda bosses have told Elber Twomey that they are developing an enhanced computer- assisted training course to help young gardai with handling high-risk situations including suicidal motorists.

Trainee gardai will now be confronted with an exact replica of the scenario that cost Elber her adored family.

Deliberate

Elber (39) lost her husband Con (39), her son Oisin (16 months) and her unborn baby daughter, Elber Marie, when Polish taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski deliberately drove into their car in Devon during a UK holiday two years ago.

The taxi driver, who police were seeking as a high-risk person after he left a suicide note, was killed almost instantly in the July 6, 2012 collision.

He had deliberately swerved across a busy dual-carriageway and collided head-on with the Twomey's VW Golf.

His action came just seconds after a police constable had used his siren and flash- ing lights in an effort to get the taxi driver to stop.

Oisin died a short time later in nearby Derriford Hospital.

Doctors were also unable to save Elber's unborn baby, Elber Marie.

Con, a talented hurler, died from his injuries 10 months later in Cork University Hospital (CUH).

His heartbroken wife has now dedicated her life to a road safety campaign so that no other family suffers her loss.

Elber has met with former Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, road safety chiefs and the directors of the Garda College in Templemore.

Garda bosses said they are developing intensive new training modules to help prepare young officers for high-risk situations.

Elber's case will now be a key training module.

"This has been a very difficult two years for me," she told the Herald.

"I am grateful to all those including politicians, charities, the media, Irish and British people who have helped support my campaign for greater road safety and enhanced training resources for An Garda Siochana so that no other family has to endure the terrible loss that I have suffered."

Elber said she was "very grateful" to the gardai for the kindness they had shown her - and for their willingness to adopt new training systems to help officers handle high risk motorists.

Nightmare

"The bottom line is that I don't want any family to endure the nightmare that I was left facing," she said.

Elber will make her first TV appearance tonight when she is a guest on RTE's Saturday Night Show with Brendan O'Connor.

She said she is "very nervous" about her first TV appearance but is determined to do everything she can to underline the road safety message to Irish viewers.

"I also wish to remember my beauties - Con, Oisin and Elber Marie - as they were before that awful July day."

The tragedy occurred on the final day of the Twomey's UK holiday as Con and Elber were preparing to head to the ferry to return to their home in Meelin, north Cork.

hnews@herald.ie


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