Widespread shock after boy motorist dies in head-on collision

The scene of the fatal crash outside Adare this morning

GARDAÍ are appealing for witnesses and dash-cam footage after a 12-year old boy died when the car he was driving collided head-on with an articulated lorry in the early hours of this morning.

The boy, named locally as Wiktor Chojecki from Newcastle West, was driving a Nissan Qashqai, owned by his family, when it collided with a heavy goods truck shortly before 2am.

The horrific crash, which left the boy dead at the scene and the car destroyed, occurred on the N21 at Rineroe near Adare.

The boy whose mother, Ewa, and father, Bartosc, settled in Newcastle West after emigrating from their native Poland, was a First Year student attending Scoil Mhuire agus Ide, in the town, and a past pupil at the local Gaelscoil O’Doghair.

Sean Lane, Prinicpal, Scoil Mhuire agus Ide, said the boy started secondary school last September and that he was popular amongst pupils and teachers.

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“Wiktor is sadly missed. His many friends in the school are upset this morning after hearing the tragic news. The family are in Newcastle West for many, many years and are very much part of the community,” said Mr Lane.

“It’s such a tragic loss and we are supporting our students in the school community today. Our critical incident management plan was implemented where we had our year heads, class tutors, and our counsellors in school, working with the students. We also had psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service in the school today to support students affected by he tragedy.

“It’s very hard for our students to put into words how they are feeling, but there is great sadness and shock amongst all the school community,” he explained.

“The death of anyone from part of our school community really effects you, so we are just trying to support each other.

“Wiktor was very well liked and he mixed well with students and with staff members, and there are a number of staff members who are particularly upset because he would have had chats with them everyday. A lot of our students who would have been at primary school with him are also very upset, especially across our first year group.

“He was in the gaelscoil primary school here in town so he would have been well known and part of a big class group there and part of a big group here, so his loss will be felt right across the school community.”

Ewa and Bartosc Chojecki were being comforted by family and friends and a large Polish community in Newcastle West.

Gardaí and emergency services were alerted to the fatal crash just before 2am and cutting tools were used to free the boy from the car and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The truck driver was not injured and was being treated for severe shock.

Local Fine Gael Councillor Adam Tesky said the tight-knit rurual community had been plunged into sadness shock.

“First of all, as a councillor representing people in the area, I would like to express my sincere sympathy and condolences to the family, and I want to express my sincere gratitude to the emergency first responders and members of An Garda Siochána and Limerick Fire Service that went to help at the scene.”

“Our thoughts are also with the driver of the lorry for what he witnessed and must have seen last night. It must have been harrowing for him.”

“There are a lot of people in the boy’s age group that have lost a friend and there is a pupil missing from his school desk today, so obviously he has friends that will be mourning his grief and his loss.”

“I would ask people to be careful in terms of posting commentaries on social media platforms because nobody knows the circumstances that led to a boy of such a young age to be driving a propelled vehicle last night,” Cllr Tesky added.

Gardaí said they were keeping an open mind as to the circumstances that led to the boy being behind the wheel of the car in the early hours of the morning.

A Garda source said investigating officers were treating it as a tragic accident.

They are working on the theory that the boy took the car without his family’s knowledge.

The boy’s family were described by several sources as “decent and hard working” people.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Newcastle West Garda Station 069 20650, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.