Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Three die in separate road crashes in weekend of carnage on Northern Ireland's roads

Flowers at the scene where a 56-year-old Ballymoney man was killed when his car collided with a lorry
Flowers at the scene where a 56-year-old Ballymoney man was killed when his car collided with a lorry

Three people have lost their lives in separate road collisions across Northern Ireland this weekend bringing the total number killed so far this year to 21.

That shocking number is now more than double the figure for the same period last year.

A 56-year-old man became the third person to die during a weekend of carnage.

The man from Ballymoney Co Antrim was killed in a two-car collision close to the north coast town of Portrush.

The accident between a white Peugeot Expert van and a yellow Mercedes tow truck happened on the Ballybogey Road, a well-known accident blackspot, shortly before 5.20pm on Saturday night.

A woman was treated by paramedics at the scene and another man was taken to hospital for treatment to injuries which were not believed to be life threatening.

A spokesman for the PSNI said the road had been closed at its junction with Cloyfin and Dunluce roads to allow police to carry out their investigations.

His death brings to 21 the number of road deaths so far this year - more than double the figure for the same period last year.

Mervyn Storey, DUP MLA for north Antrim, said it was a sad tragedy.

"This particular stretch of road has a history of fatalities. The onus is on all of us to be as safe as possible when we are on the roads but sadly these types of tragedies do occur.

"Our thoughts, at this time, are with the family who are grieving the loss of a loved one," Mr Storey said.

Yesterday, a teenager who was seriously injured after being struck by a car in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone, died in hospital. He had been walking along the Beltany Road when the accident occurred at about 11pm on Friday.

A man in his 20s was also killed in a three-car pile-up close to the port of Larne, Co Antrim, just before midnight on Friday.

In the Republic, two women aged in their 50s and 70s died after their car was in collision with a minibus in Co Carlow.

Stormont Environment Minister Alex Attwood said he was concerned by the rise in the number of road deaths. He said a cross border campaign between the Department of the Environment and the Road Safety Authority in Ireland would be launched to make people more aware of the risks.

"Our road deaths this year to date in Northern Ireland are twice the same period as last year. This is also the case and more in the Republic.

"This trend is very worrying. For years road deaths have been reducing. This year they are increasing. If we all used the roads more safely over the next eight months, we can turn this trend around and ensure fewer are suffering the pain of loss that many families this weekend are facing," the minister said.

Mr Attwood also expressed sympathies to the families who had been bereaved over the past two days.

"I want to express my condolences to the families and friends of those who have died on our roads this weekend. This is an immensely difficult time and the sympathy of everyone goes to all the families," he added.

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