Truck driver is killed and seven are injured in horrific five-vehicle pile-up
Truck driver named locally as Roland Sweetnam (72)
One man was killed in an horrific collision between a truck and four cars, which forced the closure of the Cork-Limerick road yesterday.
The truck driver, named locally as Roland Sweetnam (72), died before he could be airlifted by Air Corps helicopter from the accident scene outside Mallow to Cork University Hospital (CUH).
The accident occurred shortly after noon, just minutes before a 10km road race was due to pass the spot where the truck and cars collided.
Such was the force of the collision that a horse was thrown out of a transport trailer and killed instantly.
One eyewitness said the incident could have resulted in an even greater tragedy, given that the road race was scheduled to arrive at the precise section of roadway just a few minutes later.
John Doheny admitted that he was "totally shocked" by what he witnessed.
"There were cones along the road for the road race and I was standing near a bridge with my wife and son to watch it. It was due along within a short time," he said.
"The accident involved an articulated lorry and cars. One of the cars was pulling a horse box. From what I could see, the horse was thrown out of the horse box and killed."
Mr Doheny said the incident could have resulted in further tragedy for spectators and runners.
"If it had happened a little further up the road, I might not be here talking to you now," he added.
The road race was immediately abandoned.
The lorry driver was treated at the scene by paramedics. An Air Corps helicopter responded to an alert and landed on a nearby stretch of roadway. However, the man died at the scene before he could be airlifted to CUH.
Seven other people were taken to CUH with non-life-threatening injuries. Six people from three cars, three males and three females, aged in their mid-teens to late 60s, suffered minor cuts, bruises and shock.
A passenger in the lorry, a man in his late 20s, was also treated at CUH for minor injuries. Two people in a fourth car were uninjured.
The crash occurred at Ballydahin, on the Cork city side of the Killarney roundabout in Mallow.
Anyone who witnessed the collision or the vehicles involved in the minutes before the crash is asked to contact Mallow gardaí on (022) 31450.
Meanwhile, a motorcyclist has died after he was in collision with a car on the Trim Road at Warrenstown, Co Meath, shortly before 4.30pm yesterday.
The man, aged in his early 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was removed to Our Lady's Hospital, Navan. The occupants of the car were uninjured.
Gardai have appealed for any witnesses to contact them at Ashbourne Garda Station on 01 8010600.