Boy, 4, dies in two-car accident

A family of three boys were left shattered and heartbroken after their youngest son, aged just 4, was killed yesterday in a road crash.

The family, from Doon, Co Limerick, were travelling home when their car was in collision with another car at a crossroads known as Patrickswell Cross on the Lough Gur to Herbertstown road in Co Limerick.

The victim, named locally as Jack McDonnell, died instantly in the crash.

He had been strapped into a baby seat, beside his six-year-old twin brothers in the back seat of the family car, when the collision occurred at about 1.15pm.

The little boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

His father, John McDonnell, 30, who was driving at the time of the crash, was rushed to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick for a series of scans on his head and body but was said to be in a stable condition last night.

The man’s partner, Carmel Cummins, also in her 30s, who was in the front passenger seat, and their other two children were also brought to hospital and treated for cuts and busies. They were also being treated for shock. It is understood the couple recently became engaged.

The other car was being driven by a woman from Pallasgreen who was carrying three children.

The McDonnell family had only celebrated Jack’s fourth birthday in May.

A funeral being held at the church located at the scene of yesterday’s crash had finished shortly before the accident occurred.

The McDonnell family are believed to have been returning home after a family picnic in Lough Gur.

The well-known beauty spot has been thronged with families during the fine weather, visiting the lake and wooded walkway

“It was a side-on crash rather than a head-on crash,” said a Garda source.

“The baby boy was strapped into a baby seat with his parents in the car. He died instantly on impact. He had no chance really.

“It’s very sad. The family are very shaken but I don’t believe there are any other serious injuries apart from bruising and soreness and of course shock.”

“It’s just unbelievable. The fine weather brings out the best of life and then something like this happens. It’s so tragic.

“There was a funeral on or around the same time. I believe the funeral was just finishing when it happened.”

Det Insp Michael Reidy, from Bruff Garda Station, said that two officers from the road traffic investigation unit based in Cork arrived at the scene of the fatal crash, assisted by the local Garda traffic corps from Henry St in Limerick City.

The road was closed while the investigation continued. Three ambulances and three HSE rapid response emergency vehicles attended the scene.

* Garda at Bruff have appealed for witnesses to contact them at 061 382940. Information has also been sought through the Garda Confidential hotline on 1800 666111.

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