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'I said a prayer for little Seanie', says trucker in crash that killed family


Mary Ann Wilson (left) and Marcella Wilson were killed in road collision in Mayo.

Mary Ann Wilson (left) and Marcella Wilson were killed in road collision in Mayo.

Mary Ann Wilson (left) and Marcella Wilson were killed in road collision in Mayo.

A trucker whose lorry collided with a car, killing three generations of one family - including a seven-year-old boy - collected toys belonging to the child scattered along the roadside and placed them beside his body.

Mark Tierney then said a prayer for little Sean Wilson.

Sean, his mother Marcella (39) and his grandmother Mary Ann (67) were killed instantly when their car collided with the lorry on the N17 at Lisduff, Claremorris, Co Mayo, on September 11 last year.

The family, all from the Belmullet area of Co Mayo, were on their way to a hospital appointment in Galway for Mary Ann when the horrific crash happened.


Little Sean Wilson (7)

Little Sean Wilson (7)

Little Sean Wilson (7)

Marcella was recovering from cancer at the time of the collision.


An inquest into their deaths heard that, such was the force of the collision, Sean was propelled from his mother's Citroen C3, while the engine was ripped from the car.

Marcella and Mary Ann were wearing seatbelts but Sean, who was sitting in the back, wasn't restrained because his belt was not fitted properly.

In his deposition, which was read to the inquest, Mr Tierney, from Oldcastle, Co Meath, said he remembered passing a junction and hearing a loud bang, which shook his lorry and trailer.

"I thought I'd lost wheels or something - a blowout," he said.

When he ran to the back of the lorry, Mr Tierney spotted 'Seanie' lying on the road.

"He was lying at the back of the lorry - the smell, the steam, the engine on the road, Seanie lying on the road."

Touchingly, Mr Tierney later collected Sean's scattered toys and put them beside him.

"I said a little prayer for him," he added.

A witness to the crash, Kenneth Groarke, from Oranmore, Galway, was travelling north from Galway to Claremorris.

He testified that as he moved into the slip road to take the turn to Claremorris at what is known as the Old Ballindine Road junction, he saw the C3 go slowly up to the stop line but not stop fully.

"It appeared to creep slowly out on the road. It's like she [Marcella] didn't see the truck at all," Mr Groarke said.

"When the car crept out, the truck hit it almost immediately.

"The truck hit the front and right-hand side of the car. The right rear door popped open with the force of the impact. The child in the rear was thrown up and out of the car."

The inquest heard that Mr Tierney was fully compliant with tachograph requirements and the condition of the vehicles did not contribute to the collision.

Sergeant Gabriel McLoughlin, a public service vehicle inspector for Mayo, said it was apparent from an examination that the car travelled onto the N17 and impacted with the passenger side of the semi-trailer.

Consultant pathologist Dr Fadel Bannani said each of the victims suffered "traumatic head injuries".


Coroner Patrick O'Connor said the stretch of the N17 where the family lost their lives was "a Russian roulette route" and highlighted what he said were the dangers caused by junctions.

"All drivers aren't stopping at the junctions," he said.

"They are driving onto the hard shoulder without stopping.

"They are treating the junction as slip roads. It is extremely dangerous."

He described the impact between the car and the lorry as "an unspeakable horror".

Mr O'Connor said the entrances on the N17 needed to be looked at by Mayo County Council, the Road Safety Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.