independent

Wednesday 19 June 2019

'I remember the very last day'

MARIA HERLIHY

A DUHALLOW mother whose entire family were wiped by a suicidal driver when returning home from a holiday said she can remember the last day of their holiday on July 6 and then waking up at the end of the month.

Elber Twomey was unconscious for three weeks and had 19 operations and her jaw had to rebuilt as well as having to have a double pelvic place.

On July 6, 2012, Elber along with her husband Con were making their way home after a holiday in the UK. Elber was five months pregnant at the time with her daughter, Elber Marie and the couple also had a 16 month-old son, Oisin. Her life changed when, Marek Wojciechowski ploughed into their car. Con suffered severe injuries and he passed away in CUH 10 months after the crash. She lost 'baba Oisin' and her unborn daughter in the crash.

In an interview with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio 1, she said that as a child her parents would have taken them to Torquay at different times, so she had fond memories of it.

"By taking the car, we could bring Oisin's toys and make it like home away from home. We also thought it would be safer," she said

Before the crash, her memory remained intact, and she said she could remember that it was raining and they had gone for a swim.

However, five months after the crash in November, when it was the month of the Holy Souls, Elber found herself lighting a candle for him in the chapel in CUH. "I have forgive him. If I hadn't, I believe I would be very bitter and angry and no good for anybody. To forgive him has allowed me not to become bitter," she said.

She has also met Marek's wife and let her know that she didn't blame her for the awful tragedy that had fallen on her.

"I was glad to meet her and let her know I didn't blame her. From what I had read, she blamed herself, but it wasn't her fault. People break up every day and that is not what they do as a result," she said.

Elber has been greatly concentrating and putting in Trojan work into a campaign to secure specialised training for Gardai not only in Ireland but equally so in the UK, on the best approach to deal with suicidal drivers.

Elber has met with the police in Devon and they have since changed their pursuit tactics. In addition, she met with Gardai in Templemore and is "deeply impressed" by their new regime. With complete humility, Elber said: "You need to consider a suicidal soul is not a criminal. Police and Guards should have basic suicide training that will help in dealing with a vulnerable person."

Corkman

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