Garda watchdog probes death
Man killed in crash was 'being followed'
Published 18/01/2011 | 05:00
The Garda Ombudsman Commission was last night investigating a road crash in which a 22-year-old man died.
John Donnellan, a single man from Beagh, Dunmore, Co Galway, was killed instantly in the single car crash which happened at about midnight on Sunday.
It is understood that his car was being followed at a distance by a garda patrol vehicle at the time of the crash.
It happened on a straight stretch of the R360 road between Dunmore and Williamstown when the car veered off the road and overturned, landing on the roof. The road was cordoned off by gardai and Mr Donnellan, the sole occupant of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.
His body was later removed to Galway University Hospital where a post mortem examination was due to take place.
The Garda Ombudsman Commission took charge of the investigation after it emerged that the car was being "observed" by a garda patrol car at the time.
It is thought that the garda car was travelling some distance behind Mr Donnellan's car prior to the crash.
A spokesman for the Garda Ombudsman declined to comment on whether the car was being pursued, but confirmed that a full investigation of all the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash would be carried out.
The spokesman confirmed that the matter had been referred to the GSOC by the Garda Siochana under Section 102 of the Garda Siochana Act of 2005.
The spokesman added: "The man died when the car went off the road. It has been confirmed that the car and the driver were being observed by the garda car in the area at the time".
The victim was named locally yesterday as his family attempted to come to terms with their loss. The fatal accident happened just a few kilometres from Mr Donnellan's home. Mr Donnellan had been due to return to work in Poland yesterday.
He was the eldest son of John and Kathleen Donnellan, a well-known family in the Dunmore area. John Donnellan is a machine operator, specialising in groundworks, while Mrs Donnellan runs a hairdressing business.
The dead man is also survived by his brother Martin and his sister Marion.
It is understood that he had been recently working in Poland and was home on a short break.
Yesterday the family were being comforted and supported at their home by friends and neighbours.
Local Councillor Colm Keaveney said that the tragedy was devastating for the Donnellan family and a great shock to the north Galway community.