Garda car kills teen reveller
THE Garda Ombudsman Commission has launched an investigation following the death of a teenager who was struck by a garda car.
Philip Hogarty has become the first victim on our roads this year after he was struck by the car just two hours after he celebrated the dawn of the New Year.
The keen chess player, from Tallaght in Dublin, died in hospital yesterday afternoon.
He had been on life support since he was struck on the Blessington Road in Tallaght in the early hours of January 1.
The 19-year-old was rushed to the Adelaide and Meath Hospital following the accident near the Jobstown Inn and Cheeverstown Road junction at 2.30am.
Although the exact circumstances of his death are unclear, garda sources said the young man may have climbed over bollards on the road before the crash.
Friends speculated that the garda patrol car may have overtaken a taxi just before the collision.
The teenager's family, including his mother Kate and two young sisters, were constantly at his bedside in the intensive care unit of Tallaght hospital since the crash.
They were supported by dozens of his shocked former schoolfriends from Greenhills in Tallaght, and members of his chess club in Rathmines.
Family members burst into tears as they left the ICU after seeing the seriously ill teen.
One friend said the popular chairman of the Irish Chess Union, who worked for a security company, told him earlier on Monday that he was heading out that night but the friend was unsure who he was out with.
"I think he might have gone into town first," he told the Irish Independent.
Two other friends and fellow chess enthusiasts, Darren McCabe and Paul Leavy, were praying he would pull through yesterday as they waited outside the ICU.
"He is a nice, easy going, down to earth guy," said Darren, a member of Rathmines Chess Club.
"We hope he will pull through. We play chess with him and last saw him a few days before Christmas."
Bolton Wanderers supporter Philip travelled the globe playing games, including the British Championships in Great Yarmouth earlier this year.
Not long before Christmas, he presented a Hall of Fame award to the first Irish player to beat a chess Grandmaster at the prizegiving ceremony in the Club House Hotel in Kilkenny.
Last night, Rathmines Chess Club sent its "sincere condolences" to Philip's family "at this very difficult time".
"May he rest in peace," said a spokesperson. "Rathmines Chess Club has lost a cherished member and a treasured friend.
"Philip was an extremely good chess player, having recently achieved expert status with a rating of 2069, and had started this season playing for the Rathmines 'A' team in the Armstrong Cup (our strongest team) on board 3, with a very impressive 4/6."
The spokesperson said Philip did tremendous work for Irish chess over the last 18 months.
"He will be terribly badly missed by all members of Rathmines Chess Club, all the very many other chess players he knew, and Irish chess in general. We are all in shock at this terrible tragedy."
A garda spokesman confirmed that a patrol car hit the victim. Garda sources said the incident "seemed to have been a tragic accident".
It is understood that roadworks were underway near the scene of the accident and the young man may have climbed over three foot tall barricades surrounding the construction site.
Garda sources said the road narrows from a two lane carriageway to one lane near the scene of the crash.
"He may have been taking a shortcut home but the indications are that he came from nowhere and seemed to have jumped over something, possibly a wall or bollard before he appeared in front of the patrol car," said the source.