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RIP Tributes paid to Kurdish family-of-three killed in horrific Co Galway motorway crash

Jonasz Lach, who also died, was driving at speeds of up to 120kmh on the wrong side of the M6 in Co Galway

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The Kurdish Irish Society posted a photograph on social media showing a smiling Karzan Sabah with his wife Shahen Qasm and eight-month-old baby Lena.

The Kurdish Irish Society posted a photograph on social media showing a smiling Karzan Sabah with his wife Shahen Qasm and eight-month-old baby Lena.

The scene of the head-on crash in which an infant was among the four people killed near Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Picture by Ray Ryan

The scene of the head-on crash in which an infant was among the four people killed near Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Picture by Ray Ryan

Jonasz Adam Lach whose people carrier ploughed into a family car head on

Jonasz Adam Lach whose people carrier ploughed into a family car head on

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The Kurdish Irish Society posted a photograph on social media showing a smiling Karzan Sabah with his wife Shahen Qasm and eight-month-old baby Lena.

Tributes have been paid to the family who were wiped out in a horrific road crash on the M6 in Galway last Thursday.

The Kurdish Irish Society posted a photograph on social media showing a smiling Karzan Sabah with his wife Shahen Qasm and eight-month-old baby Lena.

All three were killed in the collision after Jonasz Lach (42) drove his Volkswagen Touran at speeds of up to 120kmh on the wrong side of the motorway. It has emerged that he had serious mental health issues and was before the courts for dangerous driving incidents.

The Kurdish Irish Society posted a tribute and prayers for the family who were killed.

"It has been relayed that the horrific three car crash on the M6 outside Galway on Thursday resulted in which a complete Kurdish family were killed...” it said.

“The post-mortems are continuing... Our deepest sympathy to the families and relatives of Mr Karzan Sabah, a former Phd student, his wife and child.

"May their souls be returned to Allah and let them rest in peace. God rest their souls.”

It is believed that Shahen died almost instantly, although she was pulled from the family’s Volkswagen Golf by passing motorists, while her husband and infant daughter died on impact.

After she was removed from the car, it exploded.

Lach, with an address at Fisherman’s Wharf, Portumna, Co Galway, had been seen by mental health services on five occasions over the past couple of years after coming to the attention of gardaí.

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Jonasz Adam Lach whose people carrier ploughed into a family car head on

Jonasz Adam Lach whose people carrier ploughed into a family car head on

Jonasz Adam Lach whose people carrier ploughed into a family car head on

He was also arrested and charged with numerous dangerous driving incidents currently before Blanchardstown District Court in Dublin.

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The Polish national also had a minor drugs possession conviction, it is understood.

Lach is believed to have died instantly in the head-on collision.

He had been driving in the outside line of the motorway for 2km toward oncoming traffic and flashing his lights as motorists swerved to avoid him.

Musician Lach, who worked in a supermarket in Galway, is understood to have voluntarily checked himself into a mental health facility on one occasion.

Gardaí were called on at least four occasions over his erratic behaviour linked to his mental health struggles.

“Given that he was driving toward oncoming traffic deliberately for a couple of kilometres, it is being investigated whether this was a suicidal action, that he was operating as a suicidal driver, essentially,” a source said.

“But it is not known whether he had drink or drugs in his system or what his state of mind was. We do know that he was a person who had mental health struggles.”

An eyewitness described the aftermath of the collision, saying motorists battled to save the mother after they freed her from the family car, which then burst into flames with her partner and infant inside.

All four people were pronounced dead at the scene and their bodies were removed to Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, for post-mortems.

Passing drivers, including a student nurse, ran from their cars and tried to help before emergency services arrived.

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

“Two men did manage to get a girl from the car,” an eyewitness said.

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

A woman from Galway escaped serious injury after her car was “clipped” by Lach’s vehicle before the fatal collision.

Seven people have lost their lives on Irish roads since Thursday. There have been 93 road deaths this year to date, four more than in the same period last year.


If you have been affected by issues in this article, you can call Samaritans free on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.ie or call Pieta House on 1800 247 247

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