Sunday 11 December 2016

'I told him I loved him. I asked him to stay with me' - Woman gives emotional account of losing husband of 17 years in horror crash

Geraldine Gittens

Published 28/01/2016 | 11:22

Ann Fogarty, from PARC
Ann Fogarty, from PARC
Ann Fogarty, from PARC, receiving Leading Lights Road Safety Award from Gay Byrne RSA chairman. Photo: PARC

A woman who lost her husband and a friend in a road traffic collision has described the trauma of being involved in such a devastating event.

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Ann O’Dowd Fogarty was a back-seat passenger in her car with her husband Ed and her friend Pearl Jackson, when they were travelling through Stepaside village, Co Dublin in the early hours of June 28, 2001.

Ann told RTE’s Ryan Tubridy Show this morning how they were admiring Dublin’s city lights in the valley below when suddenly she noticed an object like a spinning top with lights hurtling towards their car. This object was an out-of-control Audi A4 quattro car.

“I remember chatting and we were admiring the lights. My friend had never seen the lights of the city as you come down from Lamb Doyles.”

“We were leaving Stepaside in what was the 30mph zone at the time and there was a right-handed bend. All of a sudden I saw this thing. It was like as if you spun a top that had lights on it. I couldn’t figure out what it was but I knew that it was something out of control… he was at my eye level hurtling towards us.”

“In that split second, I had the thought: this is coming for us and we have nowhere to go, and that was it. The next thing I woke up in the crashed car.”

“I remember nothing of the impact. I woke up… I don’t know how long after, presumably it was a very short time afterwards and I knew I was trapped by the ankles in the back of the car, and I knew that the other two passengers Ed and Pearl my friend were very seriously injured.”

“I thought that Pearl might have been dead – there wasn’t a sound coming out of her, but there was noise coming out of Ed so I knew he was still alive, but struggling,” Ms O’Dowd Fogarty, who is a member of Promoting Awareness Responsibiily and Care (PARC), said.

Ann would wave in and out of consciousness for the remainder of the night, but while she was alone and awake in the car, she told her husband and her friend that she loved them, but she got no response.

“I told them both that I loved them. I asked them to stay with me. I encouraged them to stay with me.”

“It was eerily quiet. I could almost touch the ivy on the wall outside the window. It was that close to me. We were right up against the stone wall.”

“I prayed and I stayed very calm and I knew that some help would come, but I certainly couldn’t get out of [the car] on my own.”

Ann tried to hug her husband as she waited for emergency services to arrive at the scene.

“There was a voice next and it asked was there somebody there hearing them and I said ‘yes’ and I gave them all the contact numbers and the next of kin.”

“I heard someone saying pull the plugs on this one - she’s leaking petrol all over the place. It was only then it occurred to me that the car could actually go on fire and I’m in here trapped by the ankles, and Pearl and Ed are in here too, and they’re trapped.”

“I knew we were in very good hands because it’s the fire brigade that go to these things and they’re very well trained. And then I knew they were there and they could do the job and I could relax about it, so I was then going in and out of consciousness at that stage.”

Ann, Ed and Pearl were removed from the wreckage soon afterwards, but before she was removed from the scene in an ambulance, Ann knew that her beloved husband was dead.

“I remember vaguely sliding out on top of something like a stretcher, and I felt at the time it was through the back window but I could be wrong.”

“Just before the door closed on mine I heard a command to go up and it said take the women to Vincent’s, there’s a theatre there, take the man to Loughlinstown, there’s no theatre there, so then I knew that my lovely husband of 17 years was dead.”

“I asked my sister Mary who was absolutely a star, she stayed with me practically the whole time [in the hospital], I said to her one day: ‘where is Ed?’ and she said ‘he’s in Loughlinstown’, and I said ‘Ed is dead isn’t he’, and she said ‘yes, Ann, he is’.”

Through her work with Parc, Ann says she’s been enabled to continue the search for justice. She told her story on the national airwaves today to raise awareness about a guide for families of victims following the death or serious injury of a loved one in a road traffic collision.

The guide, “Finding Your Way”, which is now in its third edition, outlines what is involved in the investigation of fatal and serious injury collisions and the legal proceedings which follow. By doing so it seeks to ease the burden on families devastated by such collisions, and it is being distributed by Garda Family Liaison Officers, as part of the assistance they provide.

The guide can be gound here .

Ann explained: “I recovered very well, I had pain admittedly for about six years, but I’m perfectly OK again.”

“[Ed] was a great person for justice and the manner of his death brought out the kind of person he was.”

“He’s just not there any more physically, but I believe he’s there spiritually for me.”

“I believe that he’s with me wherever I go.”

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