Woman reveals how brave friend saved her as car rammed into group outside church

A woman hit by a car which ploughed into mourners outside a Dublin church has revealed her lucky escape thanks to a friend who pushed her out the way.

Aimee Finegan suffered only minor injuries during the shocking incident which happened in Clondalkin, Dublin today, shortly before 10.30am.

But she says it could have been a lot worse, were it not for her brave friend who shoved her to safety as the vehicle rammed into pedestrians.

The 20-year-old has described the terrifying ordeal where she saw family and friends trapped beneath the car while other injured victims lay strewn on the church grounds.

The horrific accident at the Immaculate Conception Church is reported to have been caused by a driver who “fell ill” at the wheel of their car.

Ms Finegan said: “I had just parked my car and went to stand with the rest of the crowd when I heard the car revving and then it flew towards the crowd and didn’t stop until it hit the wall," she said.

“It was horrible, no one knew what was happening, there was no time to get out of the way. We didn’t think it was going to hit us.

"It was flying at us and there was no time to move.

“It hit me before it hit the wall. I think the tyre hit my foot as I’ve cuts up the back of my leg.

"I was thrown at the railings and my shoes was ripped off – I was lifted off the ground with no shoes on.

“But one of my friends pushed me out of the way, so I got out lucky,” she said.

"The car was going so fast, it ploughed into the crowd.

"I think there was about 15 people injured and I’m in no way the worst of them.

"I saw about two or three people under the car. I saw one of them in hospital and he has broken bones in his leg and a broken collar bone, so he’ll need surgery.

"I injured my hip and foot and can’t really lift my leg. The doctors at the hospital said it’s all soft tissue damage,” she added.

A witness to the collision said they “heard screaming” and “everyone started running”.

Others have taken to social media claiming the incident was caused by a priest who suffered a heart attack while driving into the church yard, but this is yet to be confirmed.

One woman wrote: "Priest had a heart attack while driving in our village, hope everyone will be ok."

The funeral was delayed for a number of hours but took place later on in the afternoon.

Forensic investigators were at the scene after mourners left the chapel and Gardai – Irish state police – cordoned off an area around the damaged white vehicle.

A garda spokesperson told Dublin Live: "One person has been taken to James Connolly Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

"Two have been taken to James St Hospital and one taken to Tallaght Hospital. Developments will be updated."

In a tweet, police added: "Gardaí & emergency services are currently dealing with a traffic collision in the grounds of a church at New Road, Clondalkin.

"It’s understood the driver of a car fell ill and struck a number of pedestrians.”Fianna Fail TD John Curran was among the mourners who witnessed the crash.

He said: "I was at the church door when I could hear the commotion and I looked around and the car had obviously got out of control and driven into a group of people.

"I saw a number of people lying on the ground under the car. It had driven against the wall so the people were caught and trapped under the vehicle at the wall.

"Everybody rushed to help and called the emergency services. No one could get the person out from under the vehicle, they were afraid to move anyone because it was quite serious.

"There was absolute shock. It happened just before 10am when the hearse was coming around the village.

"People were visibly shocked by it."

A statement from the Archdiocese of Dublin said that priests and staff of the parish of the Immaculate Conception expressed their "sympathies to those people injured in an accident".

They said: "They are keeping all involved in their prayers at this difficult time.

"Parish staff worked closely with emergency services in the aftermath of the incident to assist where they could.

"Gardai are actively investigating the incident and it is not possible to make further comment while their inquiries continue."

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