Thursday 18 January 2018

Tributes paid to teenager and mother-of-three killed in crash

Two die on what was to be day without a road death

Emergency services at the scene of two fatalities near Ballybofey, Co Donegal. (North West Newspix)
Emergency services at the scene of two fatalities near Ballybofey, Co Donegal. (North West Newspix)

Greg Harkin and Luke Byrne

A mother and a teenager died in a horrific car crash on what was billed as the European Day Without A Road Death (EDWARD).

Kiara Baird (19) and Maria Wallace (38), understood to be a mother of three boys, both lost their lives in the accident at around 4.15pm on the Glenfin Road, on the outskirts of Ballybofey, Co Donegal.

The teenager is originally from Tallaght, in west Dublin.

It is understood the blue Citroen C3 they were travelling in left the R252 road on a sweeping bend.

Kiara Baird
Kiara Baird

The car collided with a pole and came to a stop in a parking area for trucks.

The weather at the time was said to be poor, and the area experienced heavy downpours of rain yesterday, following a two-day dry spell.

Gardaí attended the scene shortly after the incident and the road remained closed for a number of hours last night.

Ms Baird was pronounced dead at the scene while Ms Wallace was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

The man, who was aged in his 40s, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was also taken to Letterkenny University Hospital. No other injuries were reported.

Tributes were paid online to the pair this morning.

Friend Victoria Sweeney wrote of Ms Baird: "Such a shock, rip beautiful girl sleep tight Kiara Baird gone but never forgotten you will be sadly missed."

Another pal described the teenager as "a wee legend" who was "always the life of the party".

Sophia Villa wrote on Facebook of Ms Wallace who was also known as Maria Carlin: "Life is just so fragile you forget just how quickly it can be taken away in the saddest of circumstances. Rest well with the Angels Maria Carlin. Please keep my siblings and their family in your prayers tonight folks."

Jackson's Hotel is around 800m from the crash site in the town land of Camish and a staff member said she understood one of the deceased was the relative of a colleague.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Patrick McGowan described the incident as an awful tragedy.

"There's families now just waiting for bad news. It's terrible," he said.

Gardaí have appealed for witnesses and anyone with information has been asked to contact them at Letterkenny Garda Station on 074 9167100, the Garda Confidential Line, 1800 666111 or any garda station.

Councillor Liam Doherty, from Sinn Féin, said it was the second tragedy in just over three years on the stretch of road.

"Another young lad, his name was Shane, was killed there a few years ago," he said.

In June 2013, Shane Brolly (18) was killed when the car he was driving was in a collision close to the scene of yesterday's accident. He was in the car with twin sister Emma, who survived.

Yesterday's EDWARD initiative was supposed to encourage driver safety and it was hoped across Europe no life would be lost on the roads.

It was spearheaded by the network of European traffic police.

The incident brought the total number of people to have lost their lives on Donegal's roads to 10 this year. Nationwide, 136 people have now lost their lives in 2016, an increase of 20 for the same period last year.

Irish Independent

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