Mom who survived head-on car crash calls for screening for drivers with psychosis


Maeve Kelly and her teenage daughter Abbie were left with lifelong physical and mental scars after a head-on collision in Co Roscommon in March 2016.

The driver, who was suffering from severe psychosis, turned off his vehicle’s lights, swerved to the other side of the road and collided head-on with his car.

The driver of the other car was killed in the collision.

Since then, Maeve has called for legislation to be passed giving the power to temporarily suspend someone’s driver’s license if they have a psychotic episode.

“He overtook a traffic queue and drove straight into me. Just before impact, its lights went out. I put my hand on my daughter’s knee and said, “We have nowhere to go.”

“And that was it.

“He was diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

“Weeks later I woke up in the hospital and only then did I realize the extent of my injuries; they were disastrous,” Maeve said.

She had broken both her legs and numerous other bones and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.

“Everything you know is fragmented. It is only at this point that the grieving process begins, when you realize that you have lost your identity.”

Maeve, along with members of An Garda Síochána and emergency services, attended a flower laying ceremony at the crash site on March 20 this year to celebrate the anniversary of the crash and raise awareness of the issue.

Maeve said she hopes laying the flowers at the memorial would give her a sense of freedom.

She has also called for a review and “tightening of legislation” for people with serious mental illness and their access to “what I know now can be a deadly weapon”.

“I think their cognitive ability to drive should be assessed regularly because driving can pose a risk not only to themselves but to others as well,” Maeve said.

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