Investigation after three friends including mother-of-one killed in collision

Horror: Gardai at the scene of the fatal collision in Laois (Credit: Irish Independent)
Horror: Gardai at the scene of the fatal collision in Laois (Credit: Irish Independent)

Gardai have launched an investigation after three friends tragically lost their lives in a horror single-vehicle collision at the weekend.

Martin Brophy (20), Orla Curry (20) and Angela Kelly (35, below)) were all fatally injured after the car they were travelling in collided with a heavy road sign in the early hours of yesterday morning. 

A 16-year-old back-seat passenger in the vehicle survived the crash and was able to send a text message from the car. 

Jamie, who is the nephew of Kelly, was rushed to Tullamore General Hospital with serious injuries. His condition was last night described as stable. 

The single-vehicle accident occurred shortly after 3am at Middlemount on the Abbeyleix-Rathdowney road.

It is believed Brophy lost control of the car before it veered off the road and collided with the sign. There was no other vehicle involved in the collision, Gardai said. 

Both female fatalities - one was in the front passenger seat and the other in the rear of the car - suffered critical injuries and were pronounced dead before they could be transferred to hospital.

Gardaí closed the road for several hours yesterday while a forensic team attempted to piece together the cause of the accident. They have since reopened the road. 

All three were well-known in the area and Ms Kelly was the mother of a one-year-old girl.

The group had been at a 21st earlier in the night and it is understood they had decided to go to a 24-hour shop afterwards.

"The entire community is in shock after this - it is an awful tragedy, particularly because it involves families that are held in the highest respect and esteem locally," Cllr John King said.

Cllr John Joe Fennelly said there had been a number of serious accidents on stretches of the Abbeyleix-Rathdowney road over recent years.

"It is a terrible accident and my heart goes out to the families involved," the Fianna Fáil official said.

"All we can do now is do everything we can to support them as a community and to keep them in our prayers.

"But it is a desperate tragedy and everyone is numbed by it," he said.

Local parish priest Fr Martin Delaney paid tribute to the "incredible work" of the gardaí and fire service.

Shuki Byrne, Mark O'Regan and Ralph Riegel