Family grieve as driver (62) is first road fatality of year
A family have been left devastated after a man in his 60s was killed in Northern Ireland's first tragedy on the roads in 2018.
Arthur Lavery (62), from the Poyntzpass area, died after his car left the road and collided with a tree at around 2.45pm on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Lavery had been driving along the Bessbrook Road between Markethill and Newry.
No other vehicle was involved in the accident.
Mr Lavery was well known in the area through being very actively involved in his local church, St Patrick's in Ballyargan, as well as the local parish.
The Very Reverend Michael Woods, who knew Mr Lavery, said his family are distraught at their loss.
"I knew Arthur well," he said.
"His family are in shock and there's a sense of it throughout the whole parish.
"His wife, especially, is in a state of disbelief."
Ulster Unionist Councillor Jim Speers described the incident as "tragic".
"It took a long time before it was clear what had happened," Alderman Speers said.
"My wife's family are from the same area as the gentleman's, between Poyntzpass and Tandragee.
"It's a winding country road, but by and large two cars can meet on it.
"I live about a mile away. I've never known it to be a particularly dangerous road but I'm sure there's dangerous spots on it. I think it was at a bend that this accident happened and it was probably foggy around that time."
Mr Lavery's body is expected to be brought back to the family this morning, with his funeral taking place at St Patrick's, Ballyargan at noon on Monday.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident.
Constable Michael McNee said: "The collision occurred just before 2.45pm when a silver coloured Seat Alhambra left the road and struck a tree. We would ask anyone who witnessed the collision, or who has any information, to contact the Collision Investigation Unit on 101."