Matthew Broderick will meet with crash victims' kin. Next year, he plans to meet with the family of the two women who died when his car struck theirs in Northern Ireland in 1987

By Gary Susman
Updated September 03, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Now that Matthew Broderick is starting his own family, he’s preparing to meet with a family he inadvertently shattered. The New York Post reports that he wants to meet with the relatives of the two women who died when he hit their car in a head-on collision in Northern Ireland in 1987. Those relatives are also eager for a reconciliation with the actor, his spokesman told the Post. ”Matthew is willing to meet up with them,” the spokesman said. ”There is no ill will — not any sort of anger. The family is seeking some sort of closure.”

The crash occurred in 1987, when Broderick, then 25, was vacationing in Northern Ireland with then-girlfriend Jennifer Grey, who played his sister in ”Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” He was driving a rented BMW in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, when he inexplicably swerved into the oncoming-traffic lane. He crashed into a car driven by Anna Gallagher, 30, instantly killing her and her mother, Margaret Doherty, 63. Grey suffered minor injuries, but Broderick was hospitalized for four weeks in Belfast with a fractured leg and ribs, a collapsed lung, and a concussion. The actor, who had not been drinking, said he couldn’t remember the crash and couldn’t explain why he had changed lanes. Facing a possible five years in jail on a charge of dangerous driving, he was instead convicted of careless driving and fined $175.

At the time, the victims’ family called the verdict a ”travesty of justice.” But this week, Martin Doherty, brother and son to the victims, told the Post, ”He didn’t kill my mother and sister deliberately. There were strong feelings at the time, but I have since forgiven him and feel no anger toward him.”

The meeting would take place next spring, after the birth this fall of the ”Producers” star’s first child by wife Sarah Jessica Parker. It would be the first time he’s met with the survivors of Doherty and Gallagher. ”There was a note after the accident from him saying how sorry he was, but no other contact,” said Martin Doherty. ”I would like a private meeting just between the family and him. I would like to reassure him that there are no bad feelings from us.”

Now 40, Broderick himself recently spoke of the accident to British women’s magazine Best, saying it still haunts him. ”It was extremely difficult coming to grips with what happened, but in time I felt better about that terrible experience,” he said. ”Therapy helped.”

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