An horrific road traffic incident in the US on Sunday evening killed a Galwaywoman, her husband and has left their three Irish children orphaned.
The smash occurred en-route to a family holiday when their 2003 Honda van crashed on a four-lane rural stretch of Highway 61 in north eastern Iowa. Investigators say the eldest daughter in the family, 15-year-old Sarah O’Connell was driving at the time.
Fifty-year-old Joe O'Connell and his wife 44-year-old Anne Coleman, originally from Abbeyknockmoy, were both killed.
The driver Sarah was injured and taken to hospital along with her 13-year-old brother Colman. Following surgery and admittance to intensive care, a family friend has said that 10-year-old Maeve has been in an induced coma but is expected to come out of it on Tuesday.
The 15-year-old driver was said to have had her learner's permit only a few months. Records showed that all passengers except the driver were thrown from the van, as she was the only person wearing a seat belt.
The Iowa State Patrol said the van drifted onto the shoulder, the driver then overcorrected and rolled at least twice before coming to rest on its wheels.
Both Ann and her husband Joe were well-known at home in GAA circles. Ann Coleman originally from Abbeyknockmoy was an accomplished camógie player, and won a Junior Title with the Galway Camogie team in 1988. She is the sister of former Galway footballer, Mattie Coleman, and former Galway hurler, Michael Coleman. Her husband Joe O' Connell was a former Kerry hurler.
Relatives from Ireland are due to arrive in the US to shortly to help the bereaved children.
A fund has been now been set up with M and I Bank to help the O'Connell children.