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Man tells of moment he thought his mother was dead after fatal road accident

By Allan Preston

Published 05/09/2016

Police at the scene of the accident in Ballywalter where a man was critically injured
Police at the scene of the accident in Ballywalter where a man was critically injured
The two-vehicle crash near Gransha where a man was killed

A man has told of the moment he thought his mother had been killed in a fatal car crash on the way home from bingo.

Freda Boyle (48) suffered fractures to her neck and had to be cut out of the wreckage of her car, while her 53-year-old partner Derek Plat suffered from bruising.

A man in his 40s was killed on the Clooney Road near Gransha, Co Londonderry, in the two-vehicle crash.

It was just one of three serious crashes on Northern Ireland's roads at the weekend in which two men died and another driver was critically injured.

The deaths bring the total number of deaths so far this year to 44.

After being closed overnight, the Clooney Road re-opened yesterday afternoon.

Ms Boyd and Mr Plat were travelling home in a grey Peugeot 308 from a night of bingo just before 1am on Sunday when the crash involving a silver Ford Ka took place.

Her son John Boyd (24) told the Belfast Telegraph that he initially feared his mother was dead.

"She has two fractured bones in her neck and her partner Derek Plat has bad bruising," he said.

"She had to be cut out of the Peugeot.

"They were just coming home from Muff - they go down there to play bingo and to get diesel and all of a sudden this has happened."

He continued: "I got the phone call this morning at 5.30am.

"Derek's badly shook up about it all - he's badly bruised.

"My mum has two cracked bones in her neck and she's hooked up to oxygen with a neck brace on.

"She's able to move her legs, that's the first thing I asked her.

"I thought my mother had been killed in the car.

"I was sleeping when my partner woke me up and said, 'your mum's been in an accident'.

"I don't know who the man in the Ford Ka was but I know they're very sad.

"Derek was crying on my shoulder this morning."

The deceased man in his 40s was named locally as Paul Crossan.

Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan tweeted: "Thoughts and prayers with family of man who lost his life on Clooney Road last night.

"Another tragedy on our roads."

Sean McGlinchey, a Sinn Fein councillor for the area, said: "No matter who it is, whatever section of our community, there's somebody who has lost a father or a son."

He added: "It is a very dangerous wee stretch of road, there's a few off cuts where you have to cross the dual carriageway."

Earlier, on Saturday afternoon in Co Fermanagh, 79-year-old Patrick James McGeough from Smithborough in Monaghan died on the A3 Cavan Road near Newtownbutler.

It is understood he was killed after an Audi A4 and Ford Escort collided.

He had been the full-time carer for his 77-year-old wife Rose for the last 20 years, Belfast Live reported. She suffers from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare and serious condition of the peripheral nervous system.

The couple had been married for around 40 years.

Sinn Fein councillor Thomas O'Reilly expressed his sympathies to Mr McGeough's family.

"It's quite a bad stretch of road," he said.

"Unfortunately over the years there's been quite a few fatalities.

"It's tragic anybody losing their life on the road.

"I extend my condolences to the family.

"I would also praise the emergency services for arriving so quickly at the scene."

Part of the Cavan Road remained closed on Saturday on both sides of the Irish border while investigations took place.

In Co Down, within the same 12-hour period, a 19-year-old man was injured in a serious crash close to Ballywalter on the Ards Peninsula.

Police say the crash happened on Saturday afternoon around 4.50pm on the Dunover Road. It's understood he is in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

It's reported that the car caught fire and a local farmer passing in a tractor went to the driver's aid.

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