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Fresh agony for grieving Tyrone family as Eugene O'Brien who was hit by vehicle loses fight for life

By Sophie Inge

Published 09/11/2016

Frank O’Brien, who died in August
Frank O’Brien, who died in August
Caoimhe O’Brien, who was killed in a car crash last month

A Co Tyrone family have been hit by a third tragedy in as many months after a loved one who was hit by a car in Newtownstewart died after two weeks in intensive care.

Eugene O'Brien (44) was left critically injured following the incident on Monday, October 24.

He passed away on Monday.

His death is a second blow for the family in less than a month.

Mr O'Brien's niece Caoimhe O'Brien (23) died after her Ford Focus crashed on Victoria Road, between Derry and Strabane, on October 13.

And in August Mr O'Brien's uncle Frank died suddenly.

He was described by family members as "legend", a "great uncle" and a man who was "always smiling".

Fr Roland Calhoun, from Newtownstewart Parish, where the O'Brien family live, said they were devastated.

"Death is a blow to any family but a sudden death is even more so," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Eugene was 44 years old, he was a twin and one of eight siblings.

"Both his parents, Bridget and James, are dead and he felt their loss very grievously.

"He buried his uncle in August and his niece in October, and now he's dead.

"So, the family has had three deaths in almost as many months."

He described Eugene as a "very civilised and decent individual", who had endured two bouts of cancer.

"He really suffered a lot," he said.

"He didn't have the energy to be out and about much. He was living a quiet life.

"So death has intervened prematurely and poor Eugene has been taken from us."

Fr Calhoun offered his condolences and support to the family, most of whom live in Newtownstewart.

"He's left a big gap in their lives - a big void," added the priest.

"They will miss him dearly."

West Tyrone SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said he was "deeply saddened" by news of Eugene's death.

"This is another very tragic and difficult loss for the O'Brien family in such a short time," he said.

He added: "It is my understanding that Eugene had been on life support in the Royal Victoria Hospital since the accident until his passing.

"My prayers and sincere thoughts are with the entire O'Brien family circle, friends and wider community."

Meanwhile, police are looking for witnesses to the collision in which Eugene died.

They issued a fresh appeal for anyone who was travelling on the Strabane Road between 6.20pm and 6.35pm on Monday, October 24 and who may have witnessed the incident - which involved a black Vauxhall Vectra car - to contact police at Strabane on 101.

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