Monday 18 December 2017

'No other family should endure my loss' – death crash widow

Elber Twomey
Elber Twomey
Elber and Conor Twomey with baby Oisin
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A WOMAN whose family was wiped out by a suicidal taxi driver has pleaded for greater garda training and road safety resources so no other family has to endure her nightmare.

Elber Twomey made the appeal as a Cork coroner paid tribute to her incredible "courage and dignity" in facing up to "an unspeakable tragedy".

Elber (38) lost her husband, Con (39), her son Oisin (16 months) and her unborn baby daughter, Elber Marie, when Polish taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski deliberately drove into their car in Devon during their holiday in England.

The taxi driver, who police were searching for as a high-risk person after he left a suicide note, was killed almost instantly in the July 6, 2012, collision.

He had deliberately swerved across a busy dual-carriageway and collided head-on with the Twomey family's VW Golf.

Oisin died a short time later in nearby Derriford Hospital. Doctors were also unable to save Elber's unborn baby. Con died from his injuries 10 months later.

His heartbroken wife has now dedicated her life to campaigning so no other family suffers her loss.


"This has been a very difficult two years for me," she said.

"I am grateful to all those including politicians, charities, the media and ordinary Irish and British people who have helped support my campaign for greater road safety and enhanced training resources for An Garda Siochana so that no other family has to endure the terrible loss that I have suffered.

"I also wish to remember my 'beauties' – Con, Oisin and Elber Marie – as they were before that July day. To suitably remember them, we have organised a special remembrance event, a 'remorial' so to speak, in north Cork on June 6/8 which I would urge people to support in whatever way they can."

The remorial will involve a host of family-friendly events ranging from a fun run to table quiz and from a charity cycle to children's novelty events.

Cork coroner Dr Myra Cullinane paid tribute to the bravery Elber has shown.

"People have been greatly moved by the unspeakable tragedy that has befallen you. . . the loss of your beautiful family.

"I wish to place on record that you have shown great dignity and courage and commend you on your selfless work in the area of suicide risk awareness," she said. "And your work to help ensure that no family ever has to go through the dreadful experience you have had to go through."

Con's inquest was heard in Cork because, after sustaining critical injuries in the Devon collision, he was transferred back to Cork University Hospital on August 8, 2012.

However, the former Meelin GAA player never regained consciousness after suffering severe brain, bowel, chest, lung and bone injuries. He died on May 3, 2013, due to intestinal failure and severe brain injuries.

Elber briefly left the inquest after becoming upset during the medical evidence about her husband's injuries.

The family were returning home having enjoyed a brief holiday when the collision occurred. Con had insisted a UK holiday was safer than flying overseas given that Elber was five months pregnant.

Mr Wojciechowski left a suicide note and circled a busy dual-carriageway 12 times before ramming the Twomeys' car just seconds after a policeman had tried to pull him over.

Irish Independent

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