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HORRIFIC Driver in horror Galway crash that killed family of three suffered from mental health issues

Witness tells of desperate efforts by other road users to save victims of horror smash

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Jonasz Lach

Jonasz Lach

Jonasz Lach

This is the man gardaí believe was 'driving with intent' before ploughing into oncoming traffic and killing a family of three in a horror road smash in Co. Galway.

Jonasz Lach, who suffered from serious mental health issues, was driving on the wrong side of the M6 at Poolboy in Ballinasloe when his vehicle collided head on with traffic, including a car carrying two parents and their infant child.

All four occupants of two vehicles died at the scene, while a motorist in a third vehicle was injured and taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The mother killed in the second vehicle has been named locally as Shanen Faris. She lived with her husband and child in Glenanail Drive, off the Tuam Road, in Galway.

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Jonasz Lach was driving the wrong way when he ploughed into the oncoming cars onthe M6 at Poolboy.

Jonasz Lach was driving the wrong way when he ploughed into the oncoming cars onthe M6 at Poolboy.

Jonasz Lach was driving the wrong way when he ploughed into the oncoming cars onthe M6 at Poolboy.

 

While the two parents are understood to originally come from the Middle East they had settled in Ireland and their infant child was born in this country.

Mr Lach is originally from Poland but was living in Fisherman's Wharf, in Portumna, Galway.

Gardaí are trying to piece together the build-up to the crash, but sources said it appears Mr Lach was "driving with intent".

"He had his headlights on and was driving at significant speed directly towards oncoming traffic when the crash occurred," a source said.

Mr Lach had a conviction for minor drugs possession and was before the court on a number of dangerous-driving offences.

Toxicology tests have been carried out as part of the investigation.

He had been a member of a band called the Hemp Brothers Band, which released a number of music videos online.

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Gardaí have speaking to family and friends of Mr Lach to try to build up a picture of his state of mind before the crash and have established he suffered from mental health problems.

Witnesses reported that they saw Mr Lach's car being driven at speed toward oncoming traffic westbound on the M6 shortly after 7.30pm on Thursday.

It is believed Mr Lach had driven the wrong way down a slip road to get onto the M6.

Gardaí believe he had been driving against traffic for around 2km before the crash.

A woman who witnessed the incident described horrific scenes where passing motorists, including a student nurse in NUIG, ran from cars and battled to save the life of Ms Faris, who they managed to pull from the wreckage before emergency services arrived.

A bus travelling from Dublin to Galway also arrived on the scene within minutes and two male passengers rushed to help.

"Two men did manage to get a girl from the car," she said.

"A student nurse in University Hospital Galway did CPR, and she kept doing it, but it was too late, I believe.

"You couldn't do anything for them. It was over.

"At first, I thought we were lucky to be so near Portiuncula, and they would be treated soon, but it didn't matter in the end.

"It was the car behind me that was hit first, and then the car behind that got the major impact.

"The car behind me was damaged, but she was fine, miraculously. It was like the oncoming car just clipped her."

The eyewitness described the motorist then hitting the next car travelling on the left-hand lane - believed to be the family vehicle - with a huge impact.

The crash came a day after another three-car collision claimed two lives in Co. Meath.

Football coach and father-of-five Dave Conroy and another man were killed following an accident near Duleek on Wednesday.

Mr Conroy, who was originally from Ayrfield in Dublin but living in Laytown, was the director of football for Laytown United FC.

His funeral mass will take place at the Sacred Heart Church, Laytown, on Friday.

A man in his twenties was also killed in a road crash in Co. Limerick in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The single-vehicle collision occurred on the R518 Askeaton to Rathkeale road at approximately 1am on Saturday.

On Monday, Canadian medical student Nelia Scheeres (24) was killed in a collision on the road between Tralee and Listowel in Kerry.

Ms Scheeres, originally from Barrie, a city in Ontario, was driving home from her first day's work on her GP placement at a practice in Lixnaw.

A total of 92 people have died on Irish roads so far this year.

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