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Tragic death Gardai probe if fatal head-on collision was linked to a car race

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The body of the 18 year old is removed from the scene of the accident near Ballymascanlon, Dundalk

The body of the 18 year old is removed from the scene of the accident near Ballymascanlon, Dundalk

The body of the 18 year old is removed from the scene of the accident near Ballymascanlon, Dundalk

Gardai are investigating if a car involved in a fatal head-on crash in Dundalk last night was racing another vehicle before the collision.

Barry Griffin (17), who was a passenger in one of the cars that crashed, was killed when the incident occurred at Ballymascanlon at around 9pm.

The driver of that car, a 07 registered Volkswagen Passat, left the scene on foot after the crash, but later presented himself to a garda station where he was questioned.

The driver of the second car, a man in his 40s who was driving a Ford Kuga, was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda with minor injuries.

He was not involved in any racing and was innocently driving in the opposite direction towards the cars believed to have been racing each other, and crashed into the Passat head on.

Gardai believe that a car which was said to be racing the Passat at the time of the crash was then driven over the border and burned out.

A youth is being questioned in relation to that vehicle, thought to be a Mercedes, also.

“It looks like the Passat was being raced against the second car, which was bought cheaply up North, when this incident occurred,” said a source.

“The crash was on a fairly straight stretch of road close to the Ballymascanlon roundabout.

“There were four people in one car and the passenger was killed and the driver fled, while the other passengers remained at the scene. There was one occupant of the Ford and he received minor injuries,” they added.

The road remained closed for a technical examination tonight while local diversions were in place.

Tributes were being paid to the young man tonight as his family and the community of Castle Heights where he lived in the town were coming to grips with the tragic news.

Local sources say the teenager would have sat his Leaving Cert at De LaSalle College in Dundalk this year but for the Covid-19 pandemic.

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He also played in the past with a local football club in the schoolboy league.

One friend posted a message on Facebook saying her heart goes out to his family.

“My heart is absolutely broke writing this. He was one of the most genuine people about. He never meant any harm, always had a smile on his face, always made others smile and was one of the funniest people I know,” she added.

“We’re all in shock of what happened....We love and miss you, we hope you get the best bed in heaven and to always look down on us,” the friend concluded.

Gardaí are appealing to any witnesses, particularly any road users who may have camera footage (including dash-cam) and who were travelling in the Ballymascanlon area between 8pm and 9pm last night to contact Dundalk Garda Station on 042 9388400, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.


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