Belfast Telegraph

Our mother warned this crossing was lethal... then she was killed on it

By BrendanMcDaid

The daughter of a Londonderry woman today spoke of how her mother predicted someone would be badly hurt on the pedestrian crossing where she was fatally injured.

Patricia (Pat) Duffy was pronounced dead shortly after being hit by a car as she walked across a zebra crossing near the junction of Westland Street and Rossville Street in the Bogside.

The 65-year-old had been returning from Mass at nearby St Columba’s Church when she was struck at 10.30am on Saturday.

Her remains were due to be released last night ahead of her funeral on St Patrick’s Day at the same church.

The accident happened at a notorious accident blackspot at the bottom of the Lecky Road flyover, where there have been fatalities and injuries in the past.

Ms Duffy’s daughter Maria Harkin (43) called for an immediate overhaul of pedestrian crossing provisions in the area.

Mrs Harkin described her mother as her “best friend” and “her rock” and said the tragedy hasn’t properly sunk in.

“She wasn’t just my mammy, she was my best friend. She lived for her family. She wasn’t the oldest in the family but she was the one everyone went to. She was the family’s rock, too,” said Mrs Harkin.

She added that her mother had often warned of the dangers of the multiple zebra crossings in the Bogside.

She said: “My mother hated them crossings. She said herself somebody is really going to get hurt there. The cars never stop when you are at them.

“I know myself from collecting my children, you don’t know who is going to stop. It’s crazy.

“Something definitely needs to be done. You couldn’t have another family going through this, you definitely couldn’t.”

A former Derry mayoress, who was hit by a car in the same area as Pat Duffy, branded the area a death trap for pedestrians.

Carita Kerr spoke out almost two years on from her own horrific accident in the Bogside, which left her in hospital for seven weeks and with permanent injuries.

Ms Kerr (73) spoke to the Telegraph about her own ordeal back in April 2009.

She said: “I got such a shock. It was dreadful. It will be two years next month.

“I had a fractured skull and pelvis. I was in Altnagelvin Hospital for two weeks and at the rehabilitation unit at the Waterside Hospital for five weeks. It was absolutely horrendous.

“Two years later I am still in agony every day but I am thankful I am alive.”

Widow Ms Kerr said that following the accident dozens of people had said to her that this was the most dangerous crossing in the city.

“Something definitely needs to be done,” she said.

“There are a number of children coming from school who are crossing here.

“I was told there was a patrol crossing person for the children and her sign was knocked out of her hand by a car.”

Her comments echo those made by community and political leaders from the Bogside area calling for traffic lights to be introduced as a matter of urgency.

A DRD spokesperson said: “The PSNI are still investigating the incident which occurred at the zebra crossing on Rossville Street.

“In line with normal procedures, Roads Service staff will meet with the PSNI to discuss the circumstances surrounding the fatality and determine if any |action by Roads Service is appropriate.”

Ms Duffy’s relatives were yesterday returning from America and Canada and funeral arrangements were expected to be confirmed today.

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