Two men killed as stolen car skids off road
Driver survives accident after attempting to flee from gardai
Published 09/12/2010 | 05:00
TWO men were killed when their high-powered stolen car crashed off an icy road into a tree as they attempted to escape from a garda patrol car.
A third man -- who is understood to be the driver of the 2010-registration BMW -- is a criminal from Limerick city and was in a stable condition last night in hospital.
Gardai recovered an imitation firearm, balaclavas and house-breaking implements from the crashed blue car at the scene of the single-vehicle accident in west Limerick.
The accident occurred on the N21 road between Rathkeale and Croagh at around 9.30pm on Tuesday after a garda observed the BMW on the busy road and turned his own vehicle to follow it.
Aware that he was being followed, the driver of the stolen vehicle -- Andrew Nolan -- accelerated, but he lost control on the icy road and the car overturned several times before hitting a tree on a low embankment.
Road conditions were described as very icy at the time and temperatures had dipped below 0C.
Eric Fitzgerald (23) and Cornelius Fitzharris (28) were pronounced dead at the scene, while Nolan was rushed to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick.
Nolan (30) underwent surgery yesterday for head injuries suffered and was in a stable condition last night. He is expected to survive.
A female motorist had complained to gardai that the BMW -- which overtook her -- was driving in a dangerous manner seconds before it crashed.
The car had been stolen in the Granville Park area of Limerick city last month. Thieves stole the vehicle after they located the keys during the course of a house burglary.
The N21 road remained closed to motorists yesterday for examinations by members of the Garda Ombudsman's office and technical officers.
Nolan, from Ashe Avenue, John Carew Park, Southill, was prosecuted for his role in one of the most gruesome murders committed in Limerick's gang feud.
In 2003, he lured Michael Campbell McNamara (23) to his death when he offered to sell the victim a sawn-off shotgun.
Limerick Circuit Criminal Court heard in 2007 that after arriving at Nolan's home, three people called to bring Mr Campbell McNamara to Coca Barry's field in Rathbane where he was murdered.
The victim had his hands, arms and feet bound together before he was stabbed 10 times and shot in the pelvic region and in the head.
Nolan admitted that the unnamed men who took the victim away from his home were violent and would kill.
Eric Fitzgerald was a first cousin of Daniel Fitzgerald (25), who was shot dead last December as he prepared to leave his uncle's mobile home at Cloughnadromin, Ballysimon, Co Limerick.
One man has been charged with the murder.
The first anniversary of Daniel's murder took place yesterday and relatives paid their respects at his grave in Mount St Oliver Cemetery in the city.
Eric was a father of a young daughter and worked alongside his own father, Paul Fitzgerald, in the tarmac business.
Cornelius Fitzharris, who had Dublin addresses at Lucan and Ballyfermot and also resided in Oxford and Worcestershire in England, committed more than a dozen previous offences.
Last month, he was a passenger in a car which knocked down a garda officer in Limerick in the Thomondgate area.
The young officer managed to escape without serious injury. Fitzharris had associations with criminal elements in both Rathkeale and Dublin.