Passer-by cradled hit-and-run boy Reece Meenan in his arms - 'There was nothing I could do but hold him'
A devastated grandad has told how he will never forget the face of a 13-year-old boy he cradled in his arms following a tragic hit and run incident.
Young Reece Meenan was pronounced dead at hospital on Saturday due to injuries sustained after being struck by a white car at around 6.30pm on the Newbridge Road in Coleraine.
The vehicle involved was later found in the Magherafelt area.
A 23-year-old man, arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving causing death, was released on police bail pending further enquiries.
Maurice Dickey (63), who was out walking his dog at the time in Coleraine, recalled how a piercing scream alerted him to the tragedy which had unfolded just moments beforehand.
"I noticed someone lying on the ground on an island in the middle of the road so I rushed over to see what had happened," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"One of his friends told me his name. There was nothing I could do apart from hold him and talk to him, but Reece didn't say anything to me at all.
"He was completely unresponsive, but he wasn't in pain and he wasn't suffering. I hope that's something his family may be able to eventually take some comfort from."
Mr Dickey, a compositor at a local newspaper, told how he held the Loreto College pupil in his arms until emergency services reached the scene.
"There were six or seven young boys and girls there with him, some of whom were crying, and they were all in a terrible state of shock.
"It was very traumatic.
"One young lad told me he'd put Reece in the recovery position following the incident but those were the only words he was able to say through his tears."
The Coleraine native, who has grandchildren around Reece's age, said he couldn't begin to understand the unimaginable grief the teenager's family is going through. "I can't get the wee boy's face out of my mind," Mr Dickey said.
"I was walking the dog nearby when I heard a scream.
"It must've just happened. I held him until the ambulance came. Shortly afterwards, his mother pulled up in a car and they waved her into the back of the ambulance with them. One of Reece's friends must've called her to tell her what happened."
He added: "I only found out on Sunday that Reece didn't make it and I'm devastated."
Flowers have been laid close to the scene of the tragedy and a banner which read 'RIP Reece' was hung from a nearby bridge.
A vigil will be held in Coleraine for the youngster next week, when he was due to celebrate his 14th birthday.
Reece, who played football for Bertie Peacock Youths up until last season, and his family had just recently moved home from Portstewart to Coleraine.
As well as football, Reece was also a keen golfer and Gaelic player.
He is survived by his father Paul, mother Veronica, his mother's partner John, sisters Caitlin Maria and Laura, and brother Graham. His funeral will leave his home today at 10.15am for Requiem Mass in Star of the Sea Church in Portstewart Church at 11am, followed by interment in Agherton Cemetery.
On Sunday morning Reece's father, Paul John Meenan, posted a beautiful smiling photograph on Facebook of himself with his arm around his young son's shoulder.