A 34-year-old truck driver is recovering at Waterford Regional Hospital with back injuries following a freak accident at Ferrycarrig on Saturday afternoon.
There were chaotic scenes just at the bridge just before 2 p.m. as the truck, which was carrying cattle for export and bound for Rosslare Europort, went out of control and collided with a car that was parked on the side of the road, flipping over in the process. It is believed that the truck may have swerved to avoid a car that was turning off for Wexford town at the end of the bridge. Three of the cattle carried on board were killed, while around eight cows were left running around the road and had to be rounded up and gathered on the site of the old Oak Tavern.
Passers-by immediately rushed to help the driver and emergency services were quickly on the scene. Gardaí sought to move traffic before the road was closed for some hours for a full forensic examination. Motorists instead were diverted via Barntown to Kyle Cross, causing considerable delays.
Initially, members of the public feared the worst as images from the scene began to appear on social media, showing the truck overturned and the badly damaged Peugeot car with the roof all but taken off at the driver's side. It was subsequently a cause for relief when it emerged that the car was unoccupied at the time of the incident.
When contacted, County Council Chairman and advanced paramedic Cllr Ger Carthy said that this was just the latest incident at what he branded a 'lethal' junction. The independent councillor had been voiciferous in his opposition to an increase in the speed limit there from 60km/h to 80km/h after it was proposed in 2017.
'TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) had proposed to increase the speed limits there, against my wishes at the time,' he said. 'Now we have a near fatal collision there and I think TII need to explain their actions in relation to this junction. As an advanced paramedic, I've attended the scene of a number of collisions there. How many more do we need to have before we do something? I won't have blood on my hands for a reckless decision made by a state body.'
'I'm on the record opposing any increase of the speed limit at Ferrycarrig Bridge and we have seen how dangerous it can be. I've asked for a full report from the Road Safety Officer on this incident and I will also be liaising with gardaí on the matter.'
Speaking of the incident on Saturday afternoon, Cllr Carthy commended the combined efforts of the National Ambulance Service, the Fire Service, Gardaí, council staff and the vets, all of whom managed to bring things to a successful conclusion. The air ambulance was also delployed, but was stood down when the extent of the driver's injuries became apparent.
'Thankfully, I'm told the man is expected to make a full recovery,' Cllr Carthy said. 'Only for the ingenuity of paramedics to extracate him from the wreckage, things could have been a lot worse. This was a multi-agency and a very delicate operation. The people who responded are the people who are always there and are those that we repay with a clap rather than the kind of financial rewards we've seen handed out in the Dáil in recent days.'
Wexford Gardaí are continuing to investigate the incident and are asking any potential witnesses to get in touch.
'We are appealing for anyone who was travelling on the road from 1.45 p.m. to 2 p.m., or anyone who was in the area and may have witnessed the collision, particularly any road users with dash-cam footage, to contact Wexford Garda Station on 053 916 5200, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.'