The driver of a car that crashed on a motorway early on Easter Sunday morning sparked a massive search after he claimed he wasn’t behind the wheel.
The man, understood to be a non-Irish national in his 40’s, was seriously injured in the single-vehicle collision on the M18 close to Tubber on the Clare/Galway border.
A passing motorist raised the alarm after discovering the crashed car at around 3.00am about 7 kilometres north of Crusheen Co Clare in the northbound carriageway.
The vehicle lost control and smashed in to a crash barrier which penetrated the driver’s side of the vehicle. Emergency crews believe the driver had a miraculous escape.
Emergency services from two counties responded to the collision. Two ambulances, several Garda patrol cars along with two units of the fire brigade from Gort, Co Galway and with three from Ennis, Co Clare raced to the scene. National Roads Authority (NRA) motorway maintenance staff also responded to the incident.
The injured man told gardaí that he wasn’t driving the car and a massive search of the motorway and surrounding lands was carried out.
Fire brigade crews assisted paramedics to remove the injured man from the car while Gardaí, assisted by fire personnel using thermal imaging cameras, searched for a second person.
The search forced the closure of the motorway however there was no sign of anyone else and gardaí now believe there was no other person.
“The motorway could have reopened within an hour or less once the car had been removed from the scene however it remained closed until 5.30am all because we were told there was another person,” one emergency worker said.
“We used thermal imaging cameras to search the area around the crash scene in case there was another person. Looking at the car, if there was anyone else, they would have been badly hurt too. It turned out that there was no one else,” he added.
It’s also understood that gardaí discovered several bank cards with different names and other property in the vehicle.
The man was taken to University Hospital Galway where he continues to undergo treatment for multiple injuries including broken bones. His injuries are however not believed to be life-threatening.
Gardaí from Gort, Co Galway are investigating the incident and are expected to interview the man once he’s well enough.