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Girlfriend of victim lost her brother in 2004 crash

THE girlfriend of a victim of the Donegal crash horror was being comforted today as she tried to come to terms with the death of a second loved one in a road tragedy.

Damien McLaughlin (21), who was killed instantly along with seven others in the horrific collision near Clonmany, was the boyfriend of Colleen Doherty who lost her only brother in a car crash.

"Colleen is inconsolable. She never got over losing her only brother in a car crash and now she has suffered another terrible blow," a family friend told the Herald.

Colleen, who lives with her parents, John and Anne Marie Doherty, and only sister at Rockytown, Buncrana, lost her 18-year-old brother Owen Patrick in a road crash at Ballymagan, Buncrana, in July 2004. Owen was one of three teenagers killed when a car struck a bridge and somersaulted into a field.

Colleen and her boyfriend Damien had been going out together for a considerable time and were regularly seen together at social events throughout the region. Damien lived with his parents, Noeleen and Robert McLaughlin, at Umrycan, Buncrana.

On Saturday, Colleen drove Damien to County Mayo where he bought a van. A friend said Damien was given a relic of Saint Martin by his mother to keep them safe on their long journey to Co Mayo and back.

On Sunday, the other seven young men involved in the fatal collision at Clonmany had travelled to Damien's home in Umrycan to look at the van that Damien had bought. Later, all eight friends met up Clonmany to watch the World Cup in one of the local pubs.

Colleen and Damien had arranged for Colleen to drive from Buncrana to Clonmany on Sunday night to bring Damien back to Buncrana. But Damien informed Colleen as she set out on the journey on Sunday evening that she did not have to drive all the way to Clonmany after all as he had been offered a lift with his friends who were all travelling down to Buncrana that night.

Damien's cousin, Buncrana-based county councillor Rena Donaghey, told the Herald: "Everyone is shocked and devastated and their thoughts are with all the families. It's terribly sad about the loss of Damien and people are also thinking of Colleen who also lost her only brother in a car accident."