Sunday 4 December 2016

Family pay tribute to 'funny, special' mum killed in crash

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 15/02/2016 | 02:30

Jacqueline Wolohan
Jacqueline Wolohan
The scene on the M4 near Kinnegad, Co Westmeath, where a woman died and four people were hospitalised after a collision

A devastated family have paid tribute to their mother who died in a horrific road crash, saying heaven has gained "one funny, special and beautiful character".

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Jacqueline Wolohan (51), a widow and mother-of-three from Coolock, Dublin, died when her Nissan Micra car was involved in a collision with an Opel Astra car driven by an off-duty garda.

The crash scene, inset, Jacqueline Wolohan
The crash scene, inset, Jacqueline Wolohan

Her 14-year-old son was seriously injured in the crash, which happened on the M4 motorway near Kinnegad, Co Westmeath, at 1.30 am on Saturday. He was taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar.

Officers from the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) are conducting the investigation because of the involvement of the off-duty garda.

Ms Wolohan was on her way back from Longford to her home with her son, his friend and an adult female cousin when the crash happened.

All three of her passengers were taken to hospital. The garda also received treatment for injuries.

The Wolohan's pet dog had been in the car and was found dead near the scene some time later.

Sarah Wolohan, one of Ms Wolohan's two adult daughters, paid tribute to her mother on Facebook as she thanked friends for their messages of support following the tragedy.

"Today I woke up to the horrific news that my mother had died. Heaven has gained one funny, special and beautiful character.

"Rest in peace ma, your memory will live on forever," she wrote.

A family friend described Ms Wolohan as "a very nice woman" who had lost her husband several years ago.

The friend said she was a stay-at-home mother raising her three children on her own.

She had lived her entire life in the Coolock area and was well respected.

Local councillor Tom Brabazon said the accident has left the local community in shock.

"For anyone from the area to lose their life in circumstances like that is extremely tragic," he said. "I hope that the GSOC investigation will get to the bottom of it."

A spokeswoman for Gsoc refused to comment on claims that the Garda helicopter was deployed to the scene of the accident.

She issued a statement that confirmed that "the incident was referred by the Garda Síochána to Gsoc under section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005".

The Act "provides for independent investigation of any matter that appears to indicate that the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person'," she said.

Gsoc is appealing for anyone who witnessed the crash to come forward.

It has requested that anyone who may have seen a blue Opel Astra, bearing a 2005 registration, or a silver Nissan Micra, with a 2004 registration, travelling on the eastbound side of the M4 at about 1.30am on Saturday, or anyone who may have information that could assist the investigation, to contact the commission on 1890 600 800.

Meanwhile, a man was hospitalised with serious injuries following a road crash in Dublin yesterday. The incident happened shortly after 9.30am on the N11. The man - aged in his early 40s - was travelling outbound close to University College Dublin when the single- vehicle collision occurred. He was taken to St Vincent's Hospital where his injuries have been described as serious.

Two units of the Dublin Fire Brigade attended the scene of the crash.

Irish Independent

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