DNA to confirm identity of Newport crash victim
Male driver believed to have recently moved to Mayo from Dublin
The motorist who died in a horrific road traffic accident near Newport over the weekend had recently moved to Westport from Dublin, The Mayo News has learned. Gardaí believe the body of the male, whose name we have been asked by investigators not to reveal, will be formally identified later today (Tuesday).
His badly burned remains were removed from a Saab car that appeared to have burst into flames after it left the road at Cartoon, Newport, in the early hours of Saturday morning. The emergency services were initially unable to say whether the body was that of a male or a female.
Following investigations over the weekend, Gardaí now believe that the body was that of a male in his late 20s.
The process of identifying the remains by comparing DNA from the body with that of possible family members began yesterday.
“We do know he was a male driver, and we are in the process of confirming identification,” explained Supt Joe McKenna, who is based in Westport Garda Station. “The driver is a person in his late 20s and not from the area, and we are hoping to confirm his identification using DNA [analysis].”
Supt McKenna explained that tracing the driver was made more difficult, as he was not the registered owner of the car. It was registered in the name of the previous owner, and the Gardaí had to contact that person to find out who the car was sold to.
The person who bought the car had recently moved to Westport, and Supt McKenna said he has not been seen in the last number of days. The person gardaí believe is the driver was not reported missing. The family of this man were contacted to take part in the identification process.
The single-vehicle accident occurred at approximately 1.30am when the car left the road. It hit a tree, splitting it in two, and landed upside down in a ditch. It is understood that the car was travelling in the direction of Newport on the main Newport to Castlebar road when the accident occurred.
The car quickly became engulfed in flames. Despite the best efforts of locals who arrived quickly on the scene and, later, the emergency services, the victim could not be removed from the car. When the flames were eventually put out, the car had been destroyed and the body was unidentifiable. The remains were taken to Mayo General Hospital.
A local man who came across the burning car told The Mayo News that harrowing scene was something he would ‘not like to see again’.
The crash occurred on the Newport side of Cuilmore NS, the same location where 21-year-old Peter Claydon from nearby Tiernaur lost his life in a fatal traffic accident in June 2012.