Community's anguish as little boy crushed by runaway car loses fight for life
The tragic death of a toddler in a freak accident has cast a dark shadow over the start of the new year, a community leader has said.
The two-year-old boy passed away on Sunday, a day after being struck by a runaway car in Dundonald.
His name has not been released, but neighbours said they believed the family was originally from the Philippines.
A 31-year-old man arrested by police has been released on bail pending further inquiries.
The accident occurred shortly before 4pm on Saturday.
It is understood an empty white Volkswagen Golf, parked in the grounds of Limetree Care Home, rolled down its sloped driveway.
The car is believed to have careered across the busy two-lane Comber Road before mounting the kerb and colliding with the boy and his mother, who were walking along the footpath.
The boy’s stroller could be clearly seen caught under the car’s rear bumper after the crash.
Neighbours recalled how the mother screamed “my baby, my baby” in the moments after the accident. She was also injured, but not seriously.
Local people rushed to the aid of the injured pair but it soon became apparent the youngster was in a very serious condition.
The injured toddler was rushed to the Ulster Hospital before being transferred to the intensive care unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. However, he passed away on Sunday night.
A raft of floral tributes have been left at the scene.
Ulster Unionist MLA Michael Copeland said the tragedy was a dreadful start to 2013.
“It has cast a shadow over everything,” he said. “One of the most sorrowful events is the death of a child, but the tragic nature of this case makes it very difficult to come to terms with. It is the most desperate tragedy and simply too dreadful to contemplate.”
Castlereagh mayor Jim White said it was “absolutely tragic”.
“This family has been in Dundonald for quite some time and they are well-known in the area and the neighbours are all absolutely horrified at what has happened,” he said.
“For a family to suffer this, at this time of the year, is unbelievable”.
Tommy Jeffers, a DUP councillor, said the community was deeply saddened.
“This is a terrible tragedy, especially at this time of year,” he said.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the people involved.
“It is a desperately sad state of affairs.”
The toddler’s family have asked for no further publicity and that his name is not released.