Sunday 21 December 2014

Driver held after head-on collision leaves teacher dead and fiance critical

Louise Hogan and Tom Brady

Published 06/04/2013 | 05:00

Alice Strain, who died in a road crash outside Dungarvan with Pat Crowley, who is in a critical condition.

A DUTCH national has been questioned on suspicion of dangerous driving after a head-on collision left a teacher dead and her photographer fiance in a critical condition in hospital.

Alice Strain (45), from Ballymacmague, outside Dungarvan, Co Waterford, lost her life as the car she was travelling in with her partner Pat Crowley collided with a van on the N25 Waterford-to-Dungarvan road.

It is understood that a white Ford Transit van swerved suddenly across the road and collided with Mr Crowley's one-year-old silver Skoda Octavia.

A Dutch national in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving by gardai who were travelling behind the car. He was detained for questioning at Waterford station.

Ms Strain received serious injuries in the collision, which occurred around 11.40pm on Thursday night at Ballyduff West on the N25. She was rushed to Waterford regional hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

Her fiance, Pat Crowley (60), a well-known wedding and events photographer in Waterford, who was driving the car, was taken to hospital with suspected internal bleeding.

Photographer

He was described as in a "critical but stable" condition last night and gardai hope to interview him in the coming days if his condition permits.

Mr Crowley established his name in the photography business over the past 25-years, having previously worked as a stem glass cutter in Waterford Crystal.

Ms Strain, who is mourned by three older sisters, Vera, Stella and Mary and her father Michael, was an extremely popular English and religious education teacher at the Presentation Secondary School in Clonmel.

The school's principal, Michael O'Loughlin, said it was a "terrible tragedy" for both the school, her family and the entire community.

Photographer David Clynch described his colleague as a "mild-mannered man" and a "well-respected photographer who is in the business around 15 to 20 years".

"The whole town has been in shock over it," Mr Clynch said.

John O'Leary, a Waterford councillor, said both the council and the National Roads Authority spent €250m on the section of the N25 to improve the bends on the road.

He said there had been five or six deaths on that road in the course of the past few years.

Gardai sealed off the road until late yesterday afternoon in order to allow forensic crash scene investigators inspect the scene of the crash, at a bend on the main road.

In a separate incident, a garda at one of the roadblocks stopping traffic travelling on the busy main road to Dungarvan was forced to use pepper spray after he had been attacked.

Gardai arrested the driver of another van after it steered violently and pulled up alongside him. The driver climbed into the back seat of the vehicle when it stopped.

During the arrest, another man in the van swung a punch at the gardai, who had to use pepper spray to restrain him.

Officers investigating the fatal crash asked anyone who witnessed it to contact them at Waterford station on 051 305300.

Irish Independent

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