A man who died following a road traffic collision on the road between Tullamore and Clara in county Offaly last Thursday evening had escaped from a local nursing home just hours after being admitted.
The deceased, accompanied by his wife, had been admitted to Esker Ri nursing home outside Clara on the day of the tragic accident. The Offaly Express reports that after having been admitted to the nursing home, later that evening, the man, aged in his 80s, made his way into another room and went to a window which had a safety lock. It is believed he was able to escape through the window.
Speaking in the aftermath of the tragedy which has rocked the local community, Sheila Maher, General Manager of Esker Ri Nursing Home, said the staff at the home are devastated by the elderly man’s death.
”The staff here were devastated and are still devastated as they wondered had they left something unlocked. Everyone is upset at the tragedy. We have a locked and coded front door here and all of the fire exits are alarmed so if you touch it it goes off. But you cannot lock windows in case of fire,” she said, adding that HIQA has been notified of the tragedy.
Ms Maher said the man had been admitted at 2pm, just hours before he managed to escape.
”He came to us on Thursday afternoon. He was on Wing C. He was accompanied by his wife as she looked after him at home. He was admitted at 2pm. There were carers with him constantly but he was quite aggressive with dementia and was looking to go home,” she said.
She added that they had checked all the CCTV and are sure the man didn’t use any of the doors to get out.
”At 7.30pm on Thursday evening he went to the fire exit door and then he walked into another bedroom at the side of the building. Our outside CCTV shows that at 7.35pm he forced and pushed open the window. This wasn’t a man who was feeble in any way. He was very strong. He jumped out and walked at pace onto the road and he was killed within 5 minutes, at 7.45pm,” she said.
The Gardai then contacted the Esker Ri by phone minutes later.
The Offaly Express also reports that Gardaí attended the scene of the fatal road traffic collision which happened on the R420. The man, aged in his 80s, was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was taken to the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore.
No other injuries were reported. The road was closed off for a period to allow for a technical examination to be conducted by Forensic Collision Investigators, the local paper reports.
Gardaí have appealed for anyone who witnessed the accident to come forward. Any road user who may have camera (including dash-cam) footage and were travelling on the R420 between Tullamore and Clara, between 7:30 pm and 8pm last Thursday 15 December are asked to make this footage available to Gardaí.
Anyone with any information has been asked to get in touch with Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.