GARDAI are appealing for witnesses to a crash that claimed the life of a young father and left his son hospitalised.
The 45-year-old man, named locally as Peter O'Halloran, from Brackenagh, Ballinasloe, Co Galway, was killed when his car hit a wall at Moyleen, near Loughrea, at around 2pm yesterday.
The Galway man was travelling with his nine-year-old son on the old Dublin Road when the crash occurred.
Gardai are investigating whether the driver may have suffered a sudden medical problem prior to the crash. There was no other vehicle involved and weather conditions were not believed to have been a factor.
Mr O'Halloran was pronounced dead at the scene and his remains removed to hospital. His young son was also taken to hospital but his injuries are not serious.
Local Fianna Fail TD Michael Kitt said the sympathies of the entire community went out to the family. "It's very sad to hear of an accident like this at any time but especially so close to Christmas. The whole community is devastated by this tragedy that has befallen a young family," he added.
Mr O'Halloran's death brings to 183 the number of people who have lost their lives on the country's roads so far this year.
Meanwhile, gardai are trying to identify an critically ill 81-year-old woman who was struck by a car.
The elderly pedestrian was carrying a keyring with the name 'Mary' on it when she was seriously injured at around 1.30pm yesterday on Pontoon Road in Castlebar, Co Mayo.
The female driver of the car immediately stopped and sought medical assistance for the pensioner.
She was taken by ambulance to Mayo General Hospital and her condition was last night described as critical.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Castlebar garda station (094) 9038200, or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.