Belfast Telegraph

Crash horror evokes painful memories for man who lost wife and son to 'death driver'

Kevin Fitzpatrick
Kevin Fitzpatrick
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A Belfast man who lost his wife and son to a 'death driver' has appealed to young people not to get involved in car crime.

Kevin Fitzpatrick's wife Dana (28) and eight-year-old son Kevin jnr were killed on the Antrim Road in December 2000 by a speeding driver.

Mr Fitzpatrick and other parents who lost loved ones in similar incidents formed their cross-community support group, Families Bereaved Through Car Crime, in the early 2000s.

They campaigned for changes in the law, tougher sentences and a change of terminology from 'joyriders' to 'death drivers'.

They have also spoken to schools and community groups to teach young people and adults about the potentially deadly consequences of car crime.

Mr Fitzpatrick (49), who now lives in Liverpool, said Saturday's news that Seamus Conlon had been killed by a speeding car was shocking.

He said it still seems like yesterday since Dana and Kevin were tragically killed.

"It's almost 19 years ago now but it doesn't matter how long it has been, time has no relevance."

He added: "No words can explain what the Conlon family will be feeling. I know myself there will be a lot of anger and questions.

"A death in these circumstances has a ripple effect on the family members left behind who will be asking why this has happened.

"All I can say to them is what someone said to me at the funeral of Dana and Kevin: 'Take each day as it comes, take each situation as it comes, take one thing at a time'."

Mr Fitzpatrick has issued a renewed plea for young people in the west Belfast area not to get involved in car crime.

"They need to slow down and wise up.

"Sadly for far too long people have known that the Whiterock Road is being used as a race track for death drivers who have no care for the people living there.

"Unless something is done, there are going to be more tragedies."

He added: "My heart does go out to the Conlon family.

"It is a very sad thing that another family is now going to be burying a loved one due to an all-too familiar situation involving speed and a stolen car.

"It doesn't matter if the person is seven or 70, to lose a loved one in this way is tragic."

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