A young man who died in a horrific car crash in Co Antrim at the weekend had recently become a dad for the second time.
Christopher Rowan (24), who was from Ballymoney, was killed when the car he was driving struck a wall early on Saturday morning.
The accident happened shortly after 1am on the Castlecat Road in Derrykeighan. Police said that no other vehicles were involved.
He was one of two young men to lose their lives on Northern Ireland’s roads over the weekend. A 19-year-old man also died after a single-vehicle crash close to Rathfriland in Co Down yesterday morning.
Mr Rowan was married with two young children, Ellie-Rose (2) and Jamie-Christopher, who was born just 13 weeks ago.
His wife, Priscilla, is said to have been left devastated. The couple would have celebrated their second wedding anniversary next month.
Speaking yesterday, Christopher’s mother-in-law, Violet Murdoch, said his young family was struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.
“Priscilla is going through a hard time — she’s totally devastated,” she said. “They have two young children who Christopher just adored.
“They were together for almost five years and would have been married for two years next month. It’s just so very sad.”
Mr Rowan had been due to start training as a lifeguard in the next few weeks and Mrs Murdoch described him as a popular young man.
“Christopher was just a fun-loving character,” she said. “He loved a joke and loved to have a bit of fun. He was dedicated to his family and just a hard-working, popular young man.”
The cause of the accident is still under investigation and police have appealed for witnesses to come forward.
“All we know is that his car left the road and struck a wall,” Mrs Murdoch said. “Christopher was pronounced dead at the scene.
“He only turned 24 in March and it is so sad to see such a young life lost. Our roads are so dangerous and these things happen too often.”
The mayor of Ballymoney Borough Council, Alderman Frank Campbell, extended his condolences to Mr Rowan’s family.
“This man was from a loving family and had two young children, and sadly they will never know what it’s like to grow up with their father,” he said.
Meanwhile, a teenager was killed after the car he was driving crashed on the Banbridge Road in Rathfriland shortly after 10.40am yesterday.
The victim has been named locally as John Edward McMullan. He was from the Castlewellan area.
A male passenger in the car was not injured.
Ulster Unionist councillor Elizabeth Ingram lives close to the scene of the accident and said it was “very sad and tragic” that another young life had been lost.
Yesterday’s tragedy brings to 56 the number of people to die on the province’s roads so far this year.
Police said they believe a number of people came across the scene of the accident and have appealed for them to come forward. They can be contacted on 0845 600 8000.