Horror of pals who saw tragic teenager hit by car
Tributes paid to schoolboy who was knocked down on a night out with friends
Published 07/05/2013 | 00:00
A group of friends watched in horror as a 16-year-old boy was knocked down by a car on a night out, suffering fatal injuries.
Cathal Donaghy, from Claudy, Co Londonderry, died from injuries he sustained when he was hit by the car moments after getting off a bus.
It is understood his friends saw the tragic accident happen from the bus they had been travelling in.
The teen was one of three people killed in separate road accidents over the weekend.
Cathal Donaghy was run over on Friday evening and died from his injuries in hospital the following day.
It is understood the teenager was heading on a night out with friends when a bus they were travelling in pulled over in a layby, near Newtownstewart in Tyrone.
Cathal – a pupil at St Patrick's and St Brigid's College in Claudy – is believed to have been crossing the Beltany Road at around 11pm when he was hit by the car.
His distraught friends witnessed the collision which is believed to have involved a car in which an elderly couple were travelling.
The schoolboy was one of three people killed in a separate road crashes over the weekend. The carnage brings Northern Ireland's death toll for the year so far to 21, more than double the figure this time last year.
The teenager's family, who live near the Co Londonderry town, were too distressed to speak publicly about the accident yesterday.
Claudy parish priest, Father David O'Kane, said Cathal was hugely popular throughout the area.
"I know Cathal's parents, his grandparents and the family circle," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"Cathal was very popular and very likeable. He came from a lovely family and it has been very sore on them and his classmates, a very difficult time."
The Donaghy family live in the small village of Craigbane just outside Claudy. The area is deep-rooted in Gaelic games and the local club, Craigbane GAC, expressed its sympathies following Cathal's death.
All games in the area have been cancelled this week as a mark of respect.
Hundreds turned out for a guard of honour in Claudy last night as Cathal's remains were brought to his parents' home.
He is survived by his parents and two sisters.
Rhonda Hamilton, a DUP councillor who lives near Newtownstewart, said people were devastated to hear of Cathal's death.
"It is understood this was a party night which turned to tragedy," said Ms Hamilton.
"My heart goes out to the young boy's family. The elderly couple in the other car are also devastated by what has happened. It just doesn't bear thinking about."
A Facebook page set up in memory of Cathal was inundated with messages of sympathy throughout the weekend.
One friend posted: "Unreal how you have brought so many people together. You will be missed."
Another said: "R.I.P Cathal. Love to all of the family at this very sad time. May God give you all much love and courage on this very lonely path."
Cathal's funeral will take place on Wednesday at St Joseph's Church, Craigbane.
Human error main killer so onus is on all of us to be safer drivers
My View - By Alex Attwood
These terrible tragedies over the last three days are a stark reminder of road risk and confirm this apparent pattern of a significant spike in road deaths, both in Northern Ireland and the Republic, where they now are over twice what they were the same time last year.
What do you do in response? You get the message across even more fully than you have before.
Ninety-five per cent of crashes and collisions are down to human error. Therefore if you reduce the risk factors – speeding, careless driving, drink-driving, not wearing a seatbelt, using your phone – you reduce the number of crashes and collision and the number of deaths.
That is the truth around road safety – the vast majority of the time it's our error. If we address all the categories of driving behaviour, that is what will improve the number of road deaths.
New laws here and across the island will help. That is the ambition of the Road Traffic Bill which should shortly go to the Assembly floor – lower limits for drink-driving offences and a radical regime on driver training. It is also why Dublin and Belfast are working towards mutual recognition of penalty points in late 2014.
The Executive has shown firm resolve and bold initiatives to address road deaths and serious injury. The wisdom of ring-fencing the budget for road safety campaigns shows that.
But this weekend proves how all of us must dedicate ourselves personally to drive safely. We must work to ensure that tragedy and pain do not visit more homes in the coming weeks and months.