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Inquest hears of U-turn road tragedy

Police Officer Steven Alexander. Bolingbrook Police Department photo


By Anthony Neeson

An inquest has heard that four Americans from the same family died in a horrific road crash while attempting to perform a U-turn.

Douglas Alexander Sr., his wife Lily, and their two sons, Douglas and Steven, died after a collision with an articulated lorry on the main Rosslare to Waterford Road on December 4, 2017.

The family were in Ireland to attend the funeral of Lily’s sister, Winifred, at Cushinstown near New Ross, Wexford.

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Steven Alexander, who was a father of two, was a decorated Bolingbrook, Illinois Police Department officer.

Garda Robert Carty said the Alexanders had flown in from Chicago, travelling in convoy behind other relatives on the N25. He said both cars were doing a U-turn on the road and while the maneuver by relative Oliver Prior had been completed, the BMW being driven by Douglas Alexander Jr. was hit by a lorry.

All four in the BMW died at the scene after being trapped underneath the lorry.

Lorry driver Paul Caulfield said he was driving towards Rosslare to the ferry, a road he knew very well as he did it twice a week.

He said he was not on his phone, nor was the radio on in his cab, while he had been chatting to his passenger, Kevin Collins, during the journey.

He told the inquest that when he came over the top of Begerin Hill he saw a car shooting across from the left-hand side maybe fifty meters in front of him, followed by a second car, and he slammed on the brakes but hit the second vehicle.

Passenger Kevin Collins said when the first car pulled out Mr. Caulfield cursed and flashed his lights and then they saw the second car. He said there was no time to react.

A Garda traffic expert said the lorry had been doing 70km/h, 10km/h below the speed limit.

In a statement read out on behalf of Douglas Jr. and Steven Alexander’s wives, solicitor Caroline McLaughlin said the family were grateful for the heroic efforts of the emergency services.

“I express on their behalf their sincere gratitude to all who came to the assistance of their family in the immediate aftermath of the accident,” she said.

The devastated family also said that there is not a day that goes by that “they do not think of you and how difficult the incident must have been for you to encounter.”