Fatal Mayo crash at ‘death trap’ junction was ‘waiting to happen’

Locals express dismay at lack of action over stretch where crashes happen ‘by the month’

Scene of a fatal accident on the Mallow Road outside Cork city involving an articulated lorry and two cars

Scene of a fatal accident on the Mallow Road outside Cork city involving an articulated lorry and two cars

 

Friends and neighbours of the Wilson family, three members of which died in a road traffic collision on the N17 near Claremorris, Co Mayo, have expressed their dismay at the incident.

The junction where the crash occurred was “a death trap”, said Cormac Hanley, owner of an equestrian centre near the location.

“For years we have been demanding action on this stretch of road. Anyone emerging from the local side roads is in danger. I hate to say this, but this was an accident waiting to happen.”

The victims were named locally last night as Marcella Wilson (40s), a single mother who lived in Belmullet, her son Sean (6) and her mother, Mary Ann.

Ms Wilson is understood to be the driver of the Citroen car that collided with a northbound articulated lorry at Lisduff at around 1pm.

Her car had emerged from the link road to Claremorris on to the N17 when the crash occurred.

“There are crashes there by the month,” said Mr Hanley. “A woman was killed there recently. It has reached a stage where local people are delighted to see Garda speed traps along the stretch of road.”

He said a roundabout close to the Lisduff junction was urgently needed to lessen the dangers.

“The sight of three coffins being readied to take the remains away was absolutely heartbreaking,” he added. “One local girl held the dead child in her arms after the impact. She was absolutely distraught afterwards.”

Minute’s silence

Tom Connolly, a Fine Gael councillor in the Claremorris Municipal District, echoed Mr Hanley’s view.

“There have been a number of serious accidents at this location over the years,” he said.

Fr Kevin Hegarty, a co-pastor in Erris, said he heard of the accident while grocery shopping.

“We are all absolutely speechless and shocked. The Wilson family is extremely well-known and liked,” he said. “People are so stunned they just don’t know what to say.”

At the first meeting of Mayo County Council after the summer recess, a minute’s silence was held.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Richard Finn said: “The whole community is heartbroken over the loss of life and the pain which family and other loved ones must now endure.”

Americans in Cork crash

Meanwhile, in Co Cork, gardaí are appealing for witnesses to a traffic collision on the main Cork-Limerick Road that claimed the lives of two American tourists when their hire car was involved in an accident with a truck on Monday morning.

The two Americans, a man and a woman in their 60s, were among a party of four Americans visiting Ireland. They were driving from Mallow towards Cork when they went to turn off at the Waterloo Junction for the tourist village of Blarney at around 11am.

The two couples were turning off the N20 when they were in collision with a truck travelling from Cork towards Mallow and the tourists’ hired silver Skoda Octavia was pushed into the path of a Peugeot coming from Waterloo and seeking to enter on the N20.

The front-seat passenger in the Octavia, an American man in his mid to late 60s and a woman seated directly behind him, suffered serious injuries in the crash and both were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

The driver of the car, the husband of the woman killed in the back seat, received serious but not life-threatening injuries, while a woman passenger seated behind the driver – the wife of the front-seat male passenger killed in the collision – also received serious but not life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the truck, a man in his 30s, was also taken to Cork University Hospital but it’s understood that his injuries were relatively minor and he was treated for shock.

Gardaí were last night trying to confirm the identities of the four American tourists and believe that they may either be a brother and sister and their respective spouses or else cousins. All come from the Midwest and have been touring Ireland for a number of days.