Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Police still investigating eleventh night hit and run

Injured people lie on the road as the car drives off
Injured people lie on the road as the car drives off

An eleventh night bonfire reveller claims she has been left haunted after witnessing a car “zig zag across the road” sending her husband and a wheelchair-bound woman flying through the air.

The alleged hit and run incident happened at Coolfin Street junction on the Donegall Road in the early hours of Monday July 12, at about 1am.

Nicola Smith, who lives in Sandy Row, said: “I walked up to the car when a couple of young guys were talking to him and asking him to turn back. I thought it was strange that a |car got through as the fire brigade were stopping traffic further up the street, asking them to take an alternative route.

“The driver started revving his engine. I could hear the fear in the young boys’ voices that were trying to persuade the driver to turn around — I think they knew he wasn’t for turning back, he was already on the wrong side of the road.

“The young teenagers were telling the driver that there were women and children up ahead and there would be no way he could get through — that he needed to reverse back.

“Then it all happened so fast. The driver put his foot down and knocked them over — they just went flying into the air. He next hit a woman who was in a wheelchair head on at full force. Her wheelchair went into the air too. It was horrific,” she said.

“He must have hit around ten to twelve people, including my husband, as he zig-zagged across the road. It’s haunted me and I’m sure everybody that saw it. I still can’t believe someone could do that.”

It has been reported that seven people, including two young children, were injured. The two children were treated in hospital for minor injuries. The woman in a wheelchair is awaiting two operations, allegedly as a result of the incident.

DUP councillor Ruth Patterson said everyone had been having a great time before the incident took place.

She said: “I had just left the Coolfin bonfire to head on to the bonfire in the Village area when I received a phone call telling me what happened. I couldn’t believe it.

“They say seven people were injured and treated for shock that night. I would say there was a lot more, as a lot of people just left the scene and went home in shock. A man who was hit by the car didn’t even know he was injured until he fainted the next day as he was walking with his lodge. He couldn’t continue his walk.

“There is usually tape across the road to block the road off. I don’t know why that wasn’t the case this year. Despite this, it is well known in the area that drivers could take an alternative route.”

A police spokesperson added: "The car involved has been recovered by police and has been forensically examined. Enquiries to establish the circumstances of the incident continue.”

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