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Sunday 22 April 2018

Road crash horror: Teenager and owner of garage questioned in probe

Ralph Riegel

GARDAI have interviewed a garage owner and a teenager about the 10-year-old vehicle in which four young friends died earlier this week.

The 10-year-old Kerry-registered Hyundai Accent had apparently been provided to the teen while his own vehicle was being repaired.

Gardai now want to clarify how the vehicle was then obtained by the five other teens who were involved in the horrific accident on the N72 Killarney-Barraduff road at 7.15am on Wednesday.

The interview with the garage-owner was last night described as routine.

The Irish Independent understands gardai are planning a second interview with the teen in the coming weeks.

David (17) and Kevin (15) Breen from Killarney, David's girlfriend Aine Riordan (15), from Castleisland, and another friend, Brian Coffey (19), from Fossa, all died when the silver saloon skidded off the road, plunged down an embankment and embedded itself in a large tree trunk.

David Breen was the driver.

The only youngster to survive the crash, Darragh Jones (16), from Farranfore, Co Kerry, is recovering in Tralee General Hospital.

Darragh -- a Leaving Cert student at the Presentation College in Milltown -- is now in a serious but stable condition. He was a back-seat passenger.

A player with Firies GAA and an athlete with Farranfore AC, Darragh is expected to recover from his injuries.

Gardai hope to be able to interview him in three or four days about what he recalls of the minutes leading up to the tragic collision.

Transport Minister Noel Dempsey last night extended his condolences to the four families. "The heartbreak the families of the deceased and their communities will bear is unimaginable.

"As a government, we will never become complacent about road safety. Our work to keep Irish roads safe will continue, so that similar tragedies can be prevented in the future."

However, the former Mayor of Kerry, Bobby O'Connell, said the Kerry and Donegal teen crash tragedies this summer underlined the fact that a major re-think of road safety policy must be urgently undertaken.

"We cannot allow this slaughter of innocent teens on our roads to continue. It is blatantly clear something else now needs to be tried. We don't need more blood on Irish roads to prove that some new thinking and a tougher crackdown is required," he said.


The Mayor of Killarney, Donal O'Grady, urged the Road Safety Authority to use people such as Bono, Henry Shefflin and Ronan O'Gara, who are readily identifiable to youngsters, to promote road safety.

The investigation into Wednesday's accident ranks as one of the biggest crash probes in garda history in Kerry.

The probe is now focused on three key issues: how and when the teens obtained the car; what speed the vehicle was doing when it crashed at Carrigeen-Crosstown on the N72 Killarney-Mallow Road and its movements over the previous five hours; and the results of toxicology tests on all four victims.

For operational reasons, gardai refused to divulge when they hope to have the results of accident scene analysis, a full public service vehicle inspection of the car and the detailed post-mortem examination results.

Gardai also want to clarify the exact movements of the car between 3am and 7.15am amid indications there may have been multiple movements of the Hyundai around the Killarney, Barraduff and Kilcummin areas.

The five teens are understood to have been returning to their homes in the greater Killarney area from a house party in Kilcummin when the accident occurred.

The N72 was said to have had quite a good surface in the area where the crash happened, with wide stretches and good visibility. Weather conditions were described as being good.

Skid-marks are still visible near the scene -- hinting that the driver tried to recover the vehicle as it spun out of control on a sharp, sweeping, bend.

Aine Riordan will have her Requiem Mass at 11am today at St Stephen and St John's Church in Castleisland. She will then be buried at Clogher cemetery.

The removal of David and Kevin Breen will take place from O'Shea's Funeral Home, Killarney at 6.30pm tonight.

The brothers will be buried after 10.30am Requiem Mass tomorrow at St Mary's Cathedral, Killarney.

Brian Coffey will be buried at Aghadoe cemetery after 11am Requiem Mass at Fossa Parish Church tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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