Belfast Telegraph

Funeral crash horror: Tyrone man died with wife and sons

By Ralph Riegel

An American woman who lost her entire family, one of them originally from Co Tyrone, in a horror collision in the Republic said the truck driver involved remains in her prayers.

An inquest in New Ross, Co Wexford, was told that a hire car carrying four members of the Alexander family from Chicago pulled out directly in front of an articulated lorry in a bid to perform a U-turn on the busy N25 road, leaving the shocked truck driver with no chance to avoid a catastrophic impact.

Coroner Dr Sean Nixon heard the BMW 520 car driven by Douglas Alexander Jnr was attempting the U-turn as it followed the car of an Irish relative after both had apparently missed a turn-off en route to a family funeral in Wexford.

Police officer Stephen Alexander (49); his parents Lily Ryan-Alexander and Douglas (both 75), and his brother Douglas Jnr (52) were all killed when their BMW saloon collided with the lorry on the N25 at Begern outside New Ross at 6.30pm on December 4, 2017.

Douglas Alexander Snr was born and raised in Sion Mills. The Alexanders had travelled to Ireland from Chicago to attend the funeral of Mrs Ryan-Alexander's sister.

Debbie Alexander Cegerlak, who remained in the US with her two children, lost both her parents and her two brothers in the horrific accident. All four died from catastrophic injuries as the Scania truck driven by Paul Caulfield was unable to avoid an impact when the BMW pulled out directly in front of it.

The coroner and Alexander family paid tribute to the desperate efforts of the Wexford emergency services to help, and the courage shown by New Ross nurse Grace O'Sullivan who came upon the accident.

"The truck driver (Mr Caulfield) did not have the time or the distance to avoid a collision," Garda forensic investigator Tom Bulger said.

Mr Caulfield was with a passenger Kevin Collins en route to the UK. Mr Collins said: "It pulled out foolishly (from the left) and did a U-turn. Paul said 'Jesus Christ' and then flashed his lights. The BMW 5 series did the same thing and pulled out in front of us. Paul had no time to react."

Solicitor Caroline McLaughlin said Mrs Alexander Cegerlak and Stephen Alexander's wife Lynn said there is not a day they do not think of the truck driver and what he faced.

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