Irish boy, 2, and unborn child killed in crash
Family vigil at bedside as parents fight for life
A TWO-YEAR-OLD Irish boy from Cork and an unborn child carried by his mother have died in a car crash in England, while their parents are fighting for their lives in hospital.
The Irish couple were named locally last night as Con 'Connie' Twomey and his wife Elber from Meelin, Kanturk, Co Cork. The two-year-old's name was Oisin. They were on holidays in the UK.
Mrs Twomey is a highly respected teacher in Kanturk and was five months pregnant with her second child. They both hail from tight-knit families in north Cork and their parents and siblings flew to the UK immediately on Friday when the news broke.
They were last night maintaining a vigil at the couple's hospital bedsides as they fought for their lives.
Both come from the same parish of Kanturk -- one family from Rockchapel and the other from Meelin. Con and his wife had only recently built their "dream home" -- a new bungalow outside the village of Meelin.
UK police said the "female casualty was pregnant and an operation was carried out to save the unborn child. How- ever the child did not survive."
A black Vauxhall Vectra driven by a Polish man in his 20s collided with the Cork family's VW Golf at Hemelin Way, Torquay, Devon, at around 2.45pm on Friday. The Polish driver was arrested at the scene, but he later died.
Last night family-friend Councillor Tim Collins said the entire community was numbed by the tragedy.
"No one can believe it -- it's absolutely heartbreaking. They are such a lovely couple and for this to happen on their holidays is just beyond words," he said.
Police said 25 emergency vehicles and three air ambulances attended the scene.
Mr Twomey, 39, was taken by ambulance to Derriford Hospital, while Mrs Twomey, 36, and two-year-old Oisin were taken to Torbay Hospital by air ambulance.
"The weather conditions were challenging, with heavy rain creating an extremely difficult working environment for the emergency services. It was very traumatic for everyone," a police spokesman said.
Family liaison officers have been appointed to support the families of all those affected.
"It was a head-on collision at speed," he added. "The black Vectra was coming down the hill and appears to have swerved into the path of the oncoming car."
As a local police car witnessed the crash, the matter has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission as a matter of course. Police said that the officer's police car had not been pursuing either vehicle.
Meanwhile, a 66-year-old woman died after a two-car collision in Co Wexford on the Newline Road at Pembroke Hill Roundabout in Kileens on Friday afternoon.
Gardai appealed for witnesses to the crash to call Wexford garda station on (053) 916 5200, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line (1800) 666 111 or any garda station.
Meanwhile, gardai in Dublin thanked the public for their co-operation during Operation Slow Down on Friday, saying that there was a visible reduction in speed from the motoring public.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said: "Safety on our roads is the responsibility of everyone -- and as Garda Commissioner I wish to acknowledge the positive response from the motoring public during this particular operation.
"I also wish to acknowledge the significant contribution made by the RSA, the media and all of the stakeholders."
The Garda Commissioner said up to 4pm over 33,000 vehicles were monitored and only 45 were detected for exceeding the speed limit.