Prayers for US family wiped out while on their way to funeral
Four members of the same family from the US who were killed in an horrific crash in Co Wexford were prayed for at the funeral they had travelled to attend.
Lily Alexander and her husband Doug, both aged 75, and their sons Doug Jnr (52) and Stephen (49), died from injuries they sustained when their hired BMW car was in collision with an articulated truck just outside Cushinstown on Monday evening.
The family, who lived in the Chicago area, had earlier landed at Shannon Airport and had driven towards the small village not far from New Ross when the crash occurred on the N25 at around 6.30pm.
Ms Alexander's sister Winifred (Winnie) Keevey died at the weekend and the Alexander family were due to attend her funeral. There was a wake at Ms Keevey's home on Monday night. Ms Keevey and Ms Alexander were named Ryan before they married, and were originally from the Patrickswell area of Limerick.
Ms Alexander's son Stephen was a police officer in Bolingbrook, outside Chicago, and he was the father of two daughters, aged 10 and 11.
His senior officer Lt Anthony Columbus told the Irish Independent: "We're really going to miss Steve."
He said Stephen had trained most of his colleagues to be better police officers. He was a decorated officer who received numerous department commendations, including a number of life-saving awards, he said.
He said he believed Stephen's father and brother, Doug Snr and Jnr, had their own construction business.
A close friend of Doug Jnr, Kent Kaled, said his friends were "devastated".
"His death has blind-sided us completely," he said.
Doug Jnr, who was married and the father of two girls, Abbey (7) and Katie (6), played in a rock band with Kent for the last 20 years.
"Doug played guitar and sang. He was an all round great guy and a wonderful dad to his two young daughters. Doug lived with his wife Marian, who is from Ireland, and their two girls," Mr Kaled said.
"Doug's mom and dad were big fans of the band and came to a lot to see us perform. Doug's dad was very musical and had played guitar in an Irish showband," he said.
At the funeral of Ms Keevey, the parish priest at the Church of St Mary, Fr Sean Devereux, paid special tribute to the tragic family.
As Ms Keevey's funeral was taking place in Cushinstown at noon yesterday, the wreckage of the car and truck were being towed away from the scene.
"We are hugely conscious of the terrible tragedy that was unveiled last evening here just up the road from the church," Fr Devereux said. "We remember today the members of the Alexander family who died in that car accident. We think of their families in Chicago who have had to receive this terrible news as well."
Speaking outside the church, Fr Devereux said the community was "numbed by the tragedy that has unfolded".
"It is unimaginable to think of really," he added, saying the sight of the horizon up the road from the church being illuminated with the lights of the emergency services was stark against the night sky.
All four members of the Alexander family died at the scene.
One theory gardaí are considering is that the driver may have been turning the car when it was hit by the truck.