Sunday 25 September 2016

Popular musician dies in Galway crash - 12 killed on roads since Sunday

* Man died Thursday afternoon after Galway accident
* Two men and a woman were killed on impact in Donegal early Thursday morning
* Two young men died in separate crash Wednesday morning
* 12 have died on our roads since Sunday

Caroline Crawford, Conor Feehan & Louise Kelly

Published 28/07/2016 | 07:58

Tony Rice (26) was a drummer with hugely popular band Big Generator, inset.
Tony Rice (26) was a drummer with hugely popular band Big Generator, inset.
Tony Rice who died in a car crash at Coolagh, Gurtymadden, Co Galway on the 28th July 2016. Tony was a drummer with the band Big Generator
University Hospital Galway
Scene of Donegal crash Credit: Joe Boland
Scene of Donegal crash Credit: Joe Boland
Scene of Donegal crash Credit: Joe Boland
Scene of Donegal crash Credit: Joe Boland

A man (26) has died after a single vehicle road collision in the early hours of Thursday morning in Galway, bringing the total number of deaths on the roads to 12 since last Sunday.

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The man killed in the latest horror crash, Tony Rice (26) was a drummer with hugely popular band Big Generator.

A statement from the band said it was “officially the saddest day in Big G history”.

“We are devastated to have to announce that we lost our musical brother and friend Tony Rice today in a tragic car accident. Tony passed away in intensive care at UCHG surrounded by all of the band, family and friends.

Stephen McCafferty, Teresa Robinson and Kaylem O'Murachaidh who lost their lives in a triple traffic accident in Donegal. (North West Newspix)
Stephen McCafferty, Teresa Robinson and Kaylem O'Murachaidh who lost their lives in a triple traffic accident in Donegal. (North West Newspix)

“Tony was pure raw talent and truly lived for his drums, we are upset beyond words and all our thoughts are with his family at this time.... Tony our hearts are broken "we miss ya brother" RIP,” it added.

The 26-year-old was seriously injured after his car collided with a concrete barrier near Killimor in Co Galway in the early hours of Thursday.

The accident occurred at 2.45am on Thursday morning at Coolagh, Gurtymadden on the N65 Loughrea to Killimor road just three miles outside Killimor.

The drummer was brought to University College Hospital Galway where he died on Thursday afternoon.

Scene of Donegal crash Credit: Joe Boland
Scene of Donegal crash Credit: Joe Boland

Local councillor Jimmy McClearn said the community was devastated by the tragic death.

“It’s been a horrendous week for Galway with three tragic deaths on our roads. We just can never be vigilant enough on our roads.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to this poor man’s family and the entire community will rally around to do what they can to help them,” he added.

No other person was involved in the crash.

The road was closed to facilitate an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators but has since reopened.

Gardai in Ballinasloe are investigating the accident and have appealed for witnesses. They particularly want to speak to anyone who was on the stretch of road between 2.30am and 2.45am.

Anyone with information should contact Ballinasloe Garda Station on 0909631890, The Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

The death is the third to rock the area within days.

On Sunday night 35-year-old Tina Kelly and her 14-year-old son Joey were killed when their car left the road and hit a tree just outside Ballygar in Galway.

Speaking at their funeral this week the heartbroken Kelly family said their only solace was that the mother and son, who were devoted to one another are “still together in heaven”.

Early Thursday morning, three people were killed in a head-on crash in Donegal in the early hours of this morning.

The two men and one woman died when two cars collided on a minor road beside a wooded area near Corrovaddy, just outside Letterkenny, at about 1am on Thursday.

Another man was rushed to hospital and is in a serious condition.

Gardai said the three bodies remained at the scene for several hours after the accident and the county coroner had been notified.

The road death toll for the week has reached double figures following the accident and it comes after the Garda Traffic Corps and Road Safety Authority issued appeals for drivers to take care on the roads as the August bank holiday approaches.

Four men were killed in a spate of crashes within hours of each other in Donegal, Meath and Kildare earlier in the week.

And a mother and her teenage son died in a crash in Co Galway on Sunday night, along with other fatal accidents in Kildare and Sligo.

Gardai appealed for witnesses to the latest accident to contact officers in Letterkenny.

Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid today has emphasised to road users "An Garda Síochána has carried out 201 mandatory alcohol checkpoints and 738 breath tests from 27th July to  28th July and it clear that some people have failed to listen or heed our warning.

"This is evident as 35 persons have been detected for drink driving in the last few days. While these high visibility checkpoints act as a deterrent we urge drivers to take personal responsibility for their actions and never ever drink and drive. We also urge all passengers to never allow themselves to be carried in a car where the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs”

Meanwhile, Donegal County Council's road safety officer, Brian O'Donnell, urged people to be extra vigilant.

"This means always obey the speed limits, reduce speed in inclement weather conditions and allow plenty of time to arrive safely at your destination, always wear your seatbelt, never use a mobile phone while driving, and never drink and drive," he said.

The council said the latest tragedies were truly horrific and officials said thoughts and prayers were with the families and relatives of those involved.

"We as a community have had far too many tragedies, particularly road traffic collisions," the council said.

"No family should have to suffer the pain and loss of a loved one as a result of a road traffic collision. It should never be forgotten that behind every figure and statistic are real tragedies and real victims with real lives lost."

The council urged people to take personal responsibility for road safety.

"Road safety is not issue for the authorities alone. Each one of us who use our roads can make a difference and should take a moment to reflect on how we use the roads and whether or not we could improve our driving and ensure that we do not become another bleak statistic - or the cause of one. These recent tragedies have changed countless lives forever," it said.

Tuesday night/Wednesday morning

This latest incident follows the death of four men, aged in their twenties and forties, in three separate road collisions on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

A head-on collision in the early hours of Wednesday morning resulted in the fatality of a young man in his twenties.

Meanwhile, in Meath, a 42-year-old man was seriously injured on Tuesday evening when the car he was driving collided with a second car.

The man was taken by ambulance to Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown where he was later pronounced dead.

Gardai are appealing for witnesses following another fatal collision in Donegal which claimed the lives of two young men.

The incident occurred at approximately 4.45am Wednesday morning when a car collided head on with a van on the inbound carriageway of the N13 at Trimragh, Letterkenny.

The occupants of the car, two young men understood to be be aged in their late teens and 20s, were pronounced dead at the scene.

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