Belfast Telegraph

Widow (81) is killed in Magherafelt lorry tragedy: Priest pays tribute to pensioner hit by vehicle while crossing road

By Claire Williamson

An elderly widow who died after being struck by an articulated lorry while crossing the road was "a good woman with a very strong faith", her priest has said.

Rhoda Kearney (81), from Magherafelt, was killed in the collision yesterday on Broad Street in the Co Londonderry town.

It is understood that the pensioner was struck by the vehicle a short time after 12.10pm.

PSNI Inspector Alan Hutton said: "It was reported a Volvo articulated lorry was involved in the incident."

An ambulance crew was on the scene within minutes and the road was closed in both directions, before being reopened last night.

Ms Kearney, who lost a son two years ago, leaves behind another son, a daughter and a number of grandchildren.

It is understood that she formerly worked as a nurse and was well-known in the town.

Magherafelt parish priest Father John Gates paid tribute to the pensioner.

He said: "She had a tough life. She lost a son a couple of years ago in his early 40s. Her husband died in his early 40s and she has had to rear her family on her own. It was really her faith that brought her through it all.

"It is a tragedy and we really feel for everyone involved, and for the lorry driver as well.

"She wouldn't have been heavily involved in committees, but she was very faithful, always at Mass and praying outside of Mass, and she was just a good woman with a very strong faith."

DUP councillor Anne Forde, who knew Ms Kearney, sent her condolences to the relatives.

She said: "I sympathise with the family on this sad occasion that another life has been lost on the roads.

"It's unfortunate that this has happened, and I just ask people to be careful on the roads and to watch out for others. It's sad that this area again has been plunged in to mourning due to another road traffic accident."

Sinn Fein councillor Darren Totten added: "It's a tragedy. She was well-known within the town and was a long time in the town."

SDLP councillor Christine McFlynn said: "This is heartbreaking news that has saddened and stunned the local community.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family and friends at this devastating time.

"My thoughts are also with the driver involved in this tragic incident."

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the collision or anyone who was travelling on Broad Street around the time of the incident to contact the collision investigation unit at Steeple PSNI station.

They can also contact local police in Magherafelt on the non-emergency number, 101.

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