Saturday 21 September 2019

'Friendly and caring' father died with son (5) in head-on road crash

Daughter (9) critically ill in hospital and third child hurt

Vincent Rossi with his son Sully (5) who both died in the crash outside Tullamore on Monday evening. Picture: Denis Byrne
Vincent Rossi with his son Sully (5) who both died in the crash outside Tullamore on Monday evening. Picture: Denis Byrne
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

The father who died alongside his five-year-old son in a horrific head-on crash between his car and a lorry has been described as a "great father".

Vincent Rossi (30) and his son Sully died in the collision just outside Tullamore, Co Offaly, on Monday evening.

Mr Rossi's daughter Hayley (9) was critically injured and his son Daniel (8) was seriously injured.

Hayley was airlifted to Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin and was said to be in a critical condition. She was due to undergo emergency surgery.

Daniel was taken by ambulance to the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore. The family live on an estate in Portlaoise, Co Laois.

Neighbours yesterday described Mr Rossi as a devoted father and caring neighbour.

"He was always so friendly and was funny and so quick," said one neighbour.

"He was a great father," she added.

Local priest Fr John Stapleton at the scene of the accident. Picture: Mark Condren
Local priest Fr John Stapleton at the scene of the accident. Picture: Mark Condren

"The kids were always out playing together."

Another neighbour said Mr Rossi had helped her when she was moving into the area.

Speaking yesterday in Tullamore, Superintendent Tom Mullarkey appealed to anyone who stopped last night at the scene of the crash to come forward.

He told the Irish Independent that a number of witnesses had already come forward, but that gardaí wanted to talk to some people who had stopped and helped the emergency services before moving on.

He said a team of collision investigators were trying to determine what happened.

He described the scene of the crash as "chaotic" and "the worst he had seen in 37 years of service".

"Two members of the same family have died, father and son, who is five years of age. Two of his other children are injured and in hospital, both receiving treatment for serious injuries," said Supt Mullarkey.

"There was absolutely chaotic scenes here, it was a horrible scene," he added. "We have quite a few people who have come forward to give us their details about one thing or another. But there are a number of people, a number of motorists, who stopped here last night and continued on.

"The other thing I am asking is that a number of people stopped here in the immediate aftermath of it and helped the emergency services.

"When some people finished, they felt they weren't needed any more, so we are looking for those people to come forward, too.

"We have had a team of forensic investigators here - normally we only need one at a fatal, but we had a team here and they will determine how this happened."

Meanwhile, parish priest Fr John Stapleton said the tragedy was "very frightening for a community".

He said he had been nearby and saw a helicopter arrive.

He said he had prayed for the first responders and medical teams who helped the victims and all involved in the tragedy.

"God help the family, with what they have to cope with right now," he said. "And then the first responders, I think they are a group sometimes forgotten, and gardaí and medical people, and fire brigade."

A major emergency response operation was launched after the crash on the N80 Tullamore to Mountmellick Road, at about 5pm on Monday.

Irish Independent

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