Friday 23 February 2018

Speeding car alert was given before fatal teen crash

Gardai probe call about dangerous driving just hours before horrific car tragedy claimed four


GARDAI were called out to investigate reports of dangerous driving five hours before four teenagers died in the horrific car accident near Killarney, Co Kerry, last Wednesday morning.

A member of the public telephoned Killarney garda station at 2.20am to report that a silver car was being driven at speed in a housing estate in Kilcummin, seven kilometres from the town.

The caller was unable to give the registration or make and model of the vehicle. Gardai were dispatched to Kilcummin to investigate the reports but they didn't find the car, despite patrolling the area for some time.

The fatal accident happened hours later at 7.10am when the silver Hyundai Accent in which five teenagers were travelling went out of control on a bend on the Killarney to Mallow road. The car left the road and crashed into a tree.

Brothers David, 17, and Kevin Breen, 15, from Ballyspillane, Killarney, and Aine Riordan, 15, from Castleisland, all tragically died at the scene.

Brian Coffey, 19, from Crohane, Fossa, died later in hospital. A fifth passenger, Darragh Jones, 16, from Farranfore, was the sole survivor of the crash.

He was reported to be in a stable condition at Kerry General Hospital in Tralee.

As the four teenagers were laid to rest this weekend, gardai prepared to step up their investigation into the events leading up to the accident.

The 2.20am warning call and the gardai's subsequent efforts to investigate the report of dangerous driving will form part of that probe, as detectives try to retrace the movements of the car.

The person who made the call will be interviewed along with other members of the public who have come forward with sightings of the car between 3am and 7.10am on the morning of the crash.

Detectives want to know how the teenagers got the car, the speed it was travelling at and the results of toxicology tests on the four victims when available.

Crucial to their inquiries is a house party which was held in Kilcummin hours before the crash. A number of the five teenagers are believed to have been guests at the party.

The Hyundai car belonged to a local youth, who is also believed to have attended the party. He was given use of it by a local garage to replace his own car while it was being repaired. Both the garage owner and the youth have spoken to gardai.

According to garda sources, the car was used during the night to transport guests to and from the party.

Detectives have yet to establish how the five teenagers came to be in the car, which was halfway to Barraduff at the time of the crash, or where they were going.

Darragh Jones, the sole survivor of the crash, will be interviewed when his condition improves.

Gardai renewed their appeal for witnesses this weekend and have asked anyone who may have seen the car between midnight on Tuesday and 7.10am on Wednesday to come forward.

Sunday Independent

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