Heartbreak in parish as crash victims mourned
A double funeral will be held tomorrow for a mother and daughter who tragically drowned when their car skidded on black ice and flipped over into a stream on Friday night.
Sandra Herbert (40), from Knockmore, Ballina, Co Mayo, was driving her daughter Rachel (14) and three other teenage girls to a disco run by the local Ardagh Foroige Club, when they hit a patch of black ice and their saloon car flipped over before landing in the stream at Rathduff, Cloghans, Ballina, at around 9pm.
The teenage girls were seated in the back of the car and managed to escape and raise the alarm.
However, Mrs Herbert -- who was a clerical officer for the Road Safety Authority (RSA) in Ballina -- and her daughter were pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination confirmed that they died from drowning in the shallow stream.
Their funeral will be held at midday tomorrow at the Church of Christ the King, in Knockmore, followed by burial at the Ballinahaglish cemetery.
The tragedy has devastated the communities of Knockmore and Rathduff where prayers were said for them at Mass yesterday.
Mayo county councillor Seamus Weir said the local community was numbed by the tragedy.
"This is the worst pain ever inflicted on the people of this parish," he said.
The victims' family, including Mrs Herbert's husband James Herbert and their sons Darragh and Ryan, were being comforted by a steady stream of callers to their home at the weekend.
Head of the RSA Noel Brett urged all drivers to pay attention to treacherous road conditions as he extended his sympathies to the Herbert family.
"We are all stunned by the loss of a wonderful colleague and her lovely daughter," he said.
Meanwhile, the Garda Ombudsman last night renewed its appeal for witnesses to a road incident that left one man dead and an off-duty garda in hospital at the weekend.
Lithuanian national Valentas Bagucianskis (26) died after the blue Mercedes van he was driving went into a ditch on the N52 at Curraghmore, 2km outside of Kilmacormac, Co Offaly, early on Saturday morning.
His body was discovered by emergency services who had responded to another incident, about 100 yards away on the same road, in which an off-duty garda was found in a ditch in his black Nissan Almera car at around 5.30am on Saturday. He was taken to hospital and later released.
Gardai want anyone who was in the area at the time to contact them on 1890 600 800.
Treacherous driving conditions are also believed to be factors in two other fatal road accidents since Friday.
Brian Walsh (28), from Waterford city, died and two other men in their 20s were injured following a single vehicle crash on the coastal road between Dunmore East and Tramore at Corbally More, in Co Waterford, early on Friday morning.
Another man, welder Danny Doherty (50), from Quigley's Point, Co Donegal, also died following a two-car crash with a 4x4 on the Inishowen peninsula on Friday evening.
Their deaths bring to 175 the number of people killed on our roads so far this year.