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Saturday 21 October 2017

'We are so touched by the support of the Irish' - US tourists in fatal Cork crash raise thousands to get injured home

American tourists Jim and Deb Baker Photo:GoFundMe
American tourists Jim and Deb Baker Photo:GoFundMe
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

The family of a US tourist who was killed in a car accident in Co Cork earlier this month has thanked the Irish people for their "prayers, helpfulness and donations".

Tourists James Baker (62) from Columbia City, Indiana and Peggy Sue Adams (59) from Delphos, Ohio were both fatally injured when they were involved in a collision with a truck at the Waterloo Junction on the main N20 near Blarney, Cork.

Their hired Skoda Octavia being driven by Ms Adams' husband, Jack (67).

While the crash claimed the lives of James and Peggy Sue, their partners Debbie and Jack were left with a broken collarbone, a shattered radius and ulna, a dislocated elbow pushed up the humorous, multiple broken ribs on the right side and a punctured lung.

The daughter of James and Debbie Baker has thanked the Irish people for their support in the aftermath of the tragic holiday.

Writing on GoFundMe, Brenda Baker wrote that she is "proud" of her Irish heritage.

"Everyone in Ireland has taken amazing care of both Mom and Dad. In addition to all the family and friends from the USA who have donated to this campaign, we are all so touched by the support of the Irish people through prayers, helpfulness and donations. I am proud of my Irish heritage as are the Bakers."

The GoFundMe page has raised over $35,000 to help cover medical costs and to get James' body home.

Brenda and Debbie Baker
Brenda and Debbie Baker

Brenda Baker said that her mum Debbie is "continuing to heal" as they laid their dad and husband James to rest.

"Mom is continuing to heal physically. She is detached from the IVs and sensors now and has only the chest tube. Yesterday she was allowed to walk mostly unassisted and this morning when I arrived she was able to use the restroom without having to ring for assistance.

"As the days pass, the shock is going away and the reality that Dad is gone is becoming more acute. Flashbacks have become sort of the norm now and Mom tries to decipher what she is seeing and deal with the flooding emotions," Brenda wrote on GoFundMe.

She added that her parents were together 46 years and that they were childhood sweethearts.

"Mom will get to see Pop for the first time since the accident--probably the longest span of of time they've ever been apart. These two were high school sweethearts. Pop loved to joke that Mom "robbed the cradle" because he was only 16 and she a year and a half older. 46 years together is a long time, yet, not long enough. So thankful that Pop was a believer in quality over quantity. He left us with long lasting memories that will make us smile and warm our hearts for a very, very long time. Love you Pop."

Gardaí are investigating if a satellite navigation device directed them to cross the outbound lane of traffic from Cork as the shortest way to get to the tourist village of Blarney, the Corkman reports.

Garda inquiries have revealed a previous collision at the same location where motorists escaped serious injury after they were impacted when using a sat nav on the same route.

The possibility the Americans were using a sat nav for directions is just one line of inquiry into their investigation into the cause of the collision.

Both Mr Baker, who was a front seat passenger, and Ms Adams, who was sitting behind him in the rear seat, were fatally injured when the left side of the car took the brunt of the impact and Mr Adams and Mr Baker's wife, Deborah (60) received serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The car was travelling from Mallow towards Cork and was turning right across traffic coming from Cork to descend the Kiln Hill towards Waterloo when it was in collision with the truck which was coming from Cork towards Mallow.

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