Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland men Ross Capper and Wayne Roberts die in separate road accidents

By Cate McCurry and Allan Preston

Two families have been plunged into grief after a father-of-two and a teenager were killed in separate collisions on Northern Ireland's roads within hours of each other.

Ballymena dad Wayne Roberts was killed after the car he was travelling in was involved in a collision with a lorry near Toomebridge yesterday.

A friend of Mr Roberts, who was aged in his 30s, said he had the "biggest heart" and was a "true inspiration" to those who knew him.

He was a passenger in a Rover car when it collided with a lorry on the Roguery Road at around 7am.

Mr Roberts was also a member of Ahoghill Loyal Sons of William Flute Band.

They released a statement on their Facebook page in which they described him as a "dedicated bandsman".

"It is with a heavy heart and a tear in my eye as I type this out," the writer posted.

"This afternoon we received the devastating news that a loyal son had passed away. Wayne was a dedicated bandsman.

"Anything that needed done Wayne was always there, no questions asked. You will be sorely missed my friend.

"There is a massive hole in our band now that will never be filled. Our thoughts and prayers go to (his wife) Lynne, (and children) Charlie, Leah and family circle at this sad time. Sleep tight mate."

A friend and fellow band member posted an online tribute saying he was "devastated" by the death.

"Wayne you were without a doubt one of the biggest hearted people to ever walk this earth and a true inspiration to everyone," he said.

"I still remember joining the band around the same time as you, and you being you, taking me under your wing and making me feel at home.

"It's not going to be the same without you mate, it never will be. I feel as if I've lost a brother and my heart goes out to Lynne, Charlie and Leah and the rest of the family at this extremely sad time."

The man driving the car, who was also aged in his 30s, was taken to hospital where he remains in critical condition.

A spokesman for the PSNI said: "The driver of the lorry was not injured as a result of the collision."

Inspector Trevor Atkinson appealed for anyone who was travelling on the Roguery Road and who witnessed the collision to contact officers in Ballymena.

Meanwhile, an earlier crash left a Portadown family in mourning after 18-year-old Ross Capper was killed in a one-car collision as he drove home from his part-time job. The Boys' Brigade member had just finished his shift at a McDonald's restaurant in Portadown at midnight, crashing around half an hour later on the Dungannon Road near his family home.

A family notice described him as the beloved son of Eric and Avril and dear brother of Scott, Adam and Ben.

Members of the 5th Portadown Boys' Brigade, Tartaraghan said they were "heartbroken" to learn of the death of their "esteemed member" and passed on their condolences to his family and friends.

Upper Bann DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley knows the family well.

He said: "Ross attended the same Boys' Brigade as me. I remember presenting him with his president's badge two years ago, the highest award a member can get, and there's a lot of skill involved in achieving it.

"He was always regarded there as a fun-loving young man who obviously had a very bright future ahead of him."

Mr Buckley said Mr Capper had a large extended family in Portadown.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family and I speak for the entire community when I say they're held in very high esteem," he said.

"I've no doubt the community will rally round them at this difficult time.

"We don't yet know the specifics of what happened, but as the weather gets worse I would urge everyone to be extra careful on the roads."

The funeral service takes place in Portadown Baptist Church on Saturday at 1pm followed by interment in Tartaraghan Parish Churchyard.

The family have asked for no flowers, with donations if desired to be paid instead to Tartaraghan Boys' Brigade.

Police have appealed for witnesses to contact officers at Lurgan.

The deaths bring the number of people killed on Northern Ireland's roads to 54 this year.

Belfast Telegraph

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