Thursday 18 January 2018

Irish mother who lost her entire family in horror UK crash is invited to Westminster

Elber and Conor Twomey with baby Oisin
Elber and Conor Twomey with baby Oisin
Elber Twomey
Elber Twomeny: her faith has helped her cope with unspeakable loss. Photo: Provision Photography
Elber Twomey and her late husband Con on their wedding day
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A YOUNG Irish woman who lost her entire family in a horror UK crash and who has since devoted her life to road safety campaigns has been honoured with an invitation to Westminster.

Elber Twomey has been invited to visit Westminster as a guest of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).

The young Cork woman will speak about her experiences of loss due to a traffic tragedy - and will outline what she believes are measures necessary to ensure no other family suffers her loss.

Elber is already helping the Garda Síochana with the operation of their driver training unit and how best to deal with 'high risk' motorists.

Elber Twomeny: her faith has helped her cope with unspeakable loss. Photo: Provision Photography
Elber Twomeny: her faith has helped her cope with unspeakable loss. Photo: Provision Photography

She lost her son, Oisin (16 months) and her unborn baby girl, Elber Marie, in a head-on collision in Torquay, Devon on July 6 2012 after suicidal Polish taxi driver, Marek Wojciechowski (26), deliberately rammed their Volkswagen Golf.

Elber’s husband, Con (38), died almost ten months later from the terrible injuries he sustained in the collision.

The young woman survived despite a horrific head injury and then having to endure 19 separate operations after the accident.

The Pole had left a suicide night and was being sought by Devon police as ‘a high risk person.’

He rammed the Twomey’s car on the final day of their UK holiday after a Devon constable had signalled for him to pull over.

The Devon police, and other UK forces, have since changed their training protocols for handling 'high-risk' motorists.

Elber Twomey and her late husband Con on their wedding day
Elber Twomey and her late husband Con on their wedding day

Elber has devoted her life to a road safety campaign and to secure extra resources and training for gardaí.

The RSA presented a special award to Elber in recognition of her courageous campaigning.

"The (Westminster) conference is 'Reducing Suicides on UK Roads' and it is the first ever conference of its kind," Elber said.

"To me it highlights the significance and regretfully the numbers of suicides on roads across the UK and beyond."

Elber paid a particular tribute to Chief Supt Aidan Reid for the work he has done with TISPOL, a UK police safety body, to enhance safety
training.

"It is really through the exposure that they have given me and my beauties campaign that I have gotten so far," she said.

"Because of them I have been introduced to fantastic people who also believe in this.

"I was actually in Manchester last week for my third TISPOL European policing road traffic conference."

"I am delighted to say that now Brecon Police Force in Wales have decided that they will use our tragedy as part of their driver training. Cheshire in England are doing similar, so please God it might help to save a life and my goodness assist a police officer."

“I don’t want anyone to go through the nightmare that I have endured,” she said.

Elber said she never thought she could forgive Mr Wojciechowski for what he took away from her in 2012 but her faith helped her through.

“I had to find forgiveness in my heart. If I didn’t I would have faced a life full of bitterness and anger,” she said.

Elber said she bluntly refused to pray for the Polish taxi driver in September 2012 in a conversation with a priest who was a friend of the
family.

But, three months later, she was lighting a candle for him and his family at the chapel in Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Elber said she also felt it was important to have met Mr Wojciechowski’s widow, Agnieszka, to stress that she did not blame her for what happened.

“I had heard that she was blaming herself. I wanted her to know that I didn’t blame her…that relationships break up all the time and this
kind of thing doesn’t happen.”

Agnieszka found a four-page suicide note written by her husband and this led to the police alert for her husband that fateful day.

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