By Eoin EnglishIrish Examiner Reporter
Remarkable suicide awareness and road safety campaigner Elber Twomey believes she has an “army in heaven” helping her every day.
In her most in-depth television interview yet, Elber — whose entire family was wiped out in a car crash in England caused by a suicidal taxi driver — speaks about the tragic day in 2012.
She tells how she prays for the man who killed her family, and about her strong faith which has helped her continue her relentless campaign to ensure that police forces in Britain and Ireland learn from her family’s immense tragedy.
“I’ve an army in heaven kicking my arse out of bed every morning,” Elber said.
“I Shouldn’t be able to walk or talk. I want to see one tiny positive come out of this in honour of Connie, Oisín and little lady.”
She speaks of her incredible story of loss, tragedy, and inspiration in a documentary to be broadcast on TV3 as part of its Disclosure series.
Ms Twomey, from Meelin in north Cork, was five months pregnant, when she, her husband, Con, and their 16-month-old son Oisín, were enjoying a family holiday in Devon in July 2012.
She said she still doesn’t remember the horrific car crash on a fateful Friday, July 6, when Polish taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski deliberately swerved onto their side of the road and rammed head-on into their car and died.
He had left a suicide note and was being pursued by police.
Oisín died in the crash. Elber lost her unborn daughter, Elber Marie. Con died in Cork University Hospital 10 months later.
Elber suffered life-changing injuries and spent three weeks in a coma before undergoing up to 19 operations.
Following an inquest which found the police responded to the incident in line with national guidelines, Elber called on them to review their handling of vulnerable drivers’ incidents.
She has since devoted her life to ensuring that British police and gardaí get specialised training to deal with suicidal drivers. As a result, control room operators in the Devon and Cornwall police force have received suicide awareness training.
The documentary charts her campaign, and features moving interviews with family and friends, with nurses and with senior British police and gardaí who are now working with Elber to improve their procedures.
Elber speaks movingly of the moment she realised her children had been killed and about how she maintained a vigil at her critically injured husband’s bedside every day for 10 months.
“It was heartbreaking, tough going but I know if the situation had been reversed, Con would have done the same,” she said.
She set up the Twomey Family Remorial which has raised just over €90,000 for suicide support charities and hospitals which cared for her and her family.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved