Double tragedy - Friends killed on way home from school

THE driver of a car which plunged into a ditch, killing two school friends, phoned the parents of both teenagers moments after the impact, appealing to them to rush to the site.

Kevin Keating volunteered to take his foster daughter, Anna Scott, and school pals Taylor Duffy, Natalie Horan-Quinn and Michael Brennan home from after-school study on Monday evening.

His car careered into a four-foot-deep ditch on the side of the road at Ballingarry. The car continued for several yards still at a 45-degree angle inside the ravine before hitting the stump of an ash tree.

Described locally as a careful driver, Mr Keating knew the road extremely well and weather conditions at the time were perfect.

Natalie Horan-Quinn, 13, from Ballyduggan, Nine Mile House, and her best pal Michael Brennan, 14, from Ballylanigan, Mullinahone, died in the impact.

Both are believed to have been back-seat passengers in the car which was travelling on the narrow, winding roadway just two to three miles from their homes.

The tragic deaths of two inseparable teenagers brought to eight the number of children lost to families along a short stretch of road which links both homes. One neighbour died in a motorbike accident; others died in road crashes and one boy drowned on a foreign holiday several years ago.

Natalie’s distraught mother, Oonagh, said yesterday: “She was a very placid, kind and wonderful child. She was always willing to help. We were at a parent-teacher meeting just last week and one of her teachers described her as a real lady. She loved life. She loved basketball and she got on exceptionally well with Michael. They were inseparable.”

Natalie is also survived by her stepfather Pat Quinn, her younger sister, Michaela, who is in fourth class and her baby brother, Nathan.

Michael’s father Pat Brennan, said Michael was “full of life and a right little divil”.

Michael was the youngest of five children. The funeral is fixed for Friday to allow his brother James travel home from Australia.

No other car was involved in the crash, and gardaí have appealed for any possible witnesses to contact them on 052 77640.

Meanwhile, a woman in her 20s was killed in a three-car-collision in Co Wicklow yesterday.

The pile-up took place at Clonpadden, just north of Arklow at about 4.20pm.

The latest deaths brings to 86 the number of people who died in road accidents this year.

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