Four members of the Alexander family died in the tragic accident.
An inquest has found that the death of the Alexander family of four in Co Wexford in 2017 should be officially ruled an accident.
Douglas Alexander Sr of Co Tyrone, his wife Lily of Co Limerick, and their adult sons Douglas Jr and Stephen were all killed when a truck driver struck their car on a road outside New Ross, Wexford on December 4, 2017.
On the way to the funeral mass, Douglas Alexander, Jr was attempting a U-Turn in the middle of the road when their car was struck by an oncoming truck.
All four passengers in the Alexander vehicle died as a result of “catastrophic injuries.” Douglas Alexander, Jr was not found to have any alcohol in his system, nor was he using a mobile phone at the time.
The driver of the truck, Paul Caulfield, said: "As I came down the hill I just remember a car shooting in front of me.”
“I didn’t get a fright as I could judge the car was safe enough from me to move on. Then all I saw was lights and then we hit. I slammed the brakes and we went across the central reservation."
Tachograph records show that Caulfield’s truck was traveling at 70 km/h, 10 km/h below the speed limit.
A nurse who attended the scene, Grace O’Sullivan, said that Caulfield repeatedly said there was nothing he could have done. Upon looking into the car, the nurse determined that the passengers had not survived the crash.
Dr. Sean Nixon, the County Wexford Coroner, recommended a verdict of accidental death for each member of the Alexander family; the jury at the inquest agreed. Dr. Nixon added that there was no evidence that Caulfield was responsible for the accident.
Dr. Nixon said that the driver Douglas Alexander may have been fatigued after only arriving into Ireland that morning and that as an American driver, he may not have been used to the Irish traffic patterns.
In a statement read out at County Wexford Coroner's Court by a lawyer acting on their behalf, the Alexander family said: "The events of December 4, 2017, have resulted in a devastating loss for the family. "
"On that date, our client Debbie Cegelerek, daughter of Douglas and Lily Alexander and sister of Douglas Junior and Stephen Alexander, lost all of her immediate family members as a result of this tragic accident."
Addressing the first responders to the scene, the statement said: “It is a source of great comfort to the family to know the care afforded by you and the bravery you showed under such difficult circumstances and they are eternally grateful to you for that."
Addressing Paul Caulfield and his passenger Kevin Collins, the statement said: "We think of you and how difficult this incident must have been for you to encounter. We wish you health and happiness and pray that this accident will not cause you any difficulties into the future.
“No family should ever have to experience such devastating loss and the family hope that the deaths of four members will not be in vain and that road users will exercise extra vigilance at all times on the road.”