A man remains in a critical condition in Mullingar hospital after his lorry overturned during a five-vehicle collision on the Mullingar bypass on Wednesday morning this week.
The main N4 Dublin to Sligo road remained closed for most of the day as Gardai dealt with the aftermath of the serious collision, which involved two lorries and three cars.
The incident occurred between 9am and 9.30am on Wednesday morning, April 7, on the Longford side of the Castlepollard exit on the N4 dual carriageway at Mullingar.
It is believed that a sand lorry, which was travelling towards the west from the Dublin direction, went out of control just after passing junction 11 on the bypass and careered over to the other side of the carriageway.
It then collided with another lorry travelling in the opposite direction, and came to a rest on its side. Three cars were hit as the lorries tried to stop.
The driver of the first lorry was trapped in his vehicle for almost an hour, and was seriously injured. The man, who is believed to be from Longford and in his late 60s, was brought to the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, where his condition remains critical. Three other people were assessed for minor injuries at the hospital but were later discharged.
A substantial amount of grain spilled from the lorry onto the road. Cranes and other special equipment had to be brought to the scene to right the lorry so it could be removed from the scene.
Gardai and the emergency services blocked off the dual carriageway in both directions, as forensic crash investigators examined the scene.
The road remained closed to motorists for most of the day, with Mullingar town experiencing severe traffic delays as motorists were diverted through the town. Westbound traffic was diverted up the Castlepollard slip road and out the old Longford Road, while eastbound traffic went off at the Killucan junction and via Donnolly’s Cross. The N4 reopened to traffic at approximately 6.30pm.
Gardai are continuing their investigation into the incident, and are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to contact Mullingar Gardai at (044 ) 9384000.
It emerged last week that road deaths in Westmeath have dropped dramatically in the past two years, from a peak of 18 in 2006 to three in 2008, and four in 2009.
Nationally, last month was the safest month since records began more than 50 years ago, with 11 people losing their lives on Irish roads, compared with 24 during March 2009. So far this year 45 people have lost their lives on the country’s roads.