Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid to young health visitor Leanne Dripps killed in Kilrea road smash

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

A young care worker killed in a road crash had a zest for life and was universally adored, friends said.

Leanne Dripps (23) died in a two-vehicle smash in Kilrea, Co Londonderry yesterday morning.

The collision happened on the Agivey Road at around 8.15am.

A second person – a middle-aged father from nearby Coleraine who was driving the other vehicle – was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries as a result of the head-on crash.

Miss Dripps was driving a Seat car which collided with a Peugeot on the busy stretch of road.

The young woman's family attended the scene of the tragedy shortly after the crash. Miss Dripps was from the Upperlands area of Maghera and provided care in the community as a health visitor.

Distraught friends of the victim posted dozens of messages of sympathy on her Facebook page as news of her untimely death spread yesterday.

One said: "Leanne Dripps you were a wee star. I still can't believe you're gone. You were a brilliant carer and will be deeply missed by your clients, co-workers, friends and family."

Another said Leanne was her best friend: "I will miss you severely beyond comprehension. You will be in everything I do and everywhere I go! My best friend, my rock, my beautiful princess."

Miss Dripps had previously studied at the University of Ulster.

The Dripps family had celebrated a meal together the previous evening to mark Leanne's mother's birthday.

Ulster Unionist councillor, George Shiels was a friend of Miss Dripps' late father.

"It's very, very sad news," he said.

"Everybody in the area will be feeling for and thinking of the family at this time. They're very well known.

"My thoughts are with them, having received news no family ever wants to hear."

Police appealed for anybody who saw the crash take place to contact them.

"Officers would appeal to anyone who witnessed the collision or anyone who was travelling on the Agivey Road around the time of the collision to contact them at the Collision Investigation Unit at Steeple Police Station on the new non-emergency number 101," a spokesman said.

The Agivey Road remained closed throughout much of yesterday.

Local residents described the stretch as an accident blackspot.

Last August best friends Christopher O'Neill and Declan McKenna died in a car smash on the same route, just yards away from their family homes. It is believed that the blue BMW M3 car hit a tree and burst into flames, horrifically killing Christopher and plumber Declan.

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