Thursday 21 September 2017

Top Irish musician is killed in US hit-and-run

Man charged in connection to the incident after neighbour noticed damaged car

Martin James O'Connor
Martin James O'Connor
A police photograph of Richard Jennings who was arrested in Florida on Saturday by officers investigating a suspected hit and run where Irishman Martin O'Connor was killed.
Damage to a BMW car suspected of being involved in a hit and run incident in Florida where Irishman Martin O'Connor was killed
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

A man has been charged in relation to the fatal hit and run of an Irishman in North Lauderdale, Florida.

Martin James O'Connor, a married father-of-two and drummer in a well-known Irish band, was killed in a hit-and-run less than 24 hours after arriving in the US.

Mr O'Connor,from Frenchpark, Co Roscommon, was crossing the road in the early hours of Saturday morning when he was allegedly struck by a black BMW SUV in North Lauderdale, Florida.

The incident occurred shortly before 5am local time.

A police photograph of Richard Jennings who was arrested in Florida on Saturday by officers investigating a suspected hit and run where Irishman Martin O'Connor was killed.
A police photograph of Richard Jennings who was arrested in Florida on Saturday by officers investigating a suspected hit and run where Irishman Martin O'Connor was killed.

He was with two friends, also from Ireland, as they returned to their hotel having been out socialising.

The 36-year-old was rushed by ambulance to the Broward Health Medical Centre, where he was subsequently pronounced dead.

Damage to a BMW car suspected of being involved in a hit and run incident in Florida where Irishman Martin O'Connor was killed
Damage to a BMW car suspected of being involved in a hit and run incident in Florida where Irishman Martin O'Connor was killed

Richard Jennings has been charged in connection to the incident after a friend of Jennings saw his damaged BMW and called authorities.

After several hours of investigating, police found Jennings and charged him with leaving the scene of an accident causing death.

Authorities confirmed O’Connor was leaving a bar with two friends and heading back to their hotel when he crossed the street and was hit.

Mr O'Connor was a "highly skilled" drummer in the band of well-known country and Irish music singer, Declan Nerney.

Mr Nerney, from Co Longford, is a household name with country music fans in Ireland.

The group were booked to play on a Holland America Line cruise, due to leave from Port Everglades, Broward County, Florida yesterday.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Martin's brother, Paul O'Connor, paid special tribute to him as a devoted father and husband.

"The band had a full day to relax, so that's what they were doing before boarding the ship where they were to spend a full week playing music."

Irish Independent

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