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Three dead from same family: Kilrea husband, wife and brother victims of horrific crash

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The victims have been named locally as husband and wife Paul and Verena Creelman, and Phil Hegarty, who was the brother of Mrs Creelman.

The victims have been named locally as husband and wife Paul and Verena Creelman, and Phil Hegarty, who was the brother of Mrs Creelman.

Paul and Verena Creelman

Paul and Verena Creelman

Police at the scene of a fatal accident on the Hiltonstown Road near Portglenone yesterday

Police at the scene of a fatal accident on the Hiltonstown Road near Portglenone yesterday

The victims have been named locally as husband and wife Paul and Verena Creelman, and Phil Hegarty, who was the brother of Mrs Creelman.

Three members from the same Co Londonderry family were killed in a fatal two-vehicle road traffic collision in Portglenone on Monday.

The victims have been named locally as husband and wife Paul and Verena Creelman, and Phil Hegarty, who was the brother of Mrs Creelman.

A silver Volkswagen Passat and a black Audi were involved in the accident on the Lisnahunshin Road in Portglenone, Co Antrim, around 10.40am.

The relatives, who are all believed to be in their 50s, were travelling in the Passat and were pronounced dead at the scene, while the male driver of the Audi was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Writing on Facebook, Mr and Mrs Creelman's son Damien, wrote: "Today is the day that I lost what had given me life, taught me respect and made me the person I am.

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Paul and Verena Creelman

Paul and Verena Creelman

Paul and Verena Creelman

"Mum, dad and uncle scoobbie.

"Thank you and RIP."

In a death notice, Dempsey Funeral Directors stated that Mr and Mrs Creelman were the beloved parents of Sean, Damien, Mikaela and Tomas, and much loved grandparents of Scarlett and Saoirse.

Funeral arrangements for Mr and Mrs Creelman and Mr Hegarty were to be announced at a later date.

The Lisnahunshin Road, Loan Road, Hiltonstown Road and Ballyconnelly Road remained closed until 8.30pm on Monday night following the collision.

Two emergency crews and a doctor were dispatched to the scene by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Phil Hegarty

Sinn Fein councillor Sean Bateson, who knows the victims' families personally, said they were in a "very difficult place".

"It's a terrible tragedy for the community of Kilrea today," he stated.

"The news that three local people - a husband, wife and a brother - have sadly lost their lives in a car accident is totally devastating.

"I know the victims personally and I know the families personally. It's just a very, very sad day for them and indeed the whole community here in Kilrea.

"We will rally around them and show support, and try and get them through the next few weeks and months ahead.

"I called in with the family earlier to show my sympathies and my support for them.

"As you can imagine it's hard for them to take in the news that the members of their family have sadly lost their lives.

"They're in a very difficult place at the minute but I know they'll be well supported by the community of Kilrea."

The SDLP's Helena Dallat O'Driscoll said she was "filled with sorrow" after hearing about the accident.

"It is a very sad day for Kilrea, particularly the residents of Coleraine Street," continued the Kilrea-based councillor.

"I wish to express my deepest sympathies to the Creelman and Hegarty families.

"I know that the people of Kilrea will rally around them at this awful time to provide every support that they may need."

Inspector David Anderson appealed to witnesses or those who may have dash cam footage of the crash to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 591 27/07/20.

Sinn Fein's North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan said the tragedy was a "terrible blow" to all of the families involved in the incident.

"People have been shocked, saddened and devastated by the deaths of three people in a road collision near Portglenone," he added.

"Any death on our roads is one too many and incidents like this are a reminder of the vital importance of road safety.

"My thoughts and sympathies are with the families, friends and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in this tragic incident."

The accident occurred in the same area where two English soldiers were killed in a road crash with a tractor in 2014.

Lance Corporal David Gwilt, from Bedford, and Rifleman Dale Harris, from Barnsley, died when their car failed to stop at a junction on the Ballyconnelly Road in Cullybackey. Both men were 24 years old.

The DUP's North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey added that he had previously highlighted the dangers of this road following the death of the soldiers.

"There are families plunged into sadness yet again because of a road traffic accident and sadly this is the same junction that two soldiers were killed at a few years ago," stated Mr Storey.

"It's a tragedy that yet again we have families plunged into sadness because of a road accident and our thoughts and prayers are with the families."

TUV councillor Timothy Gaston also passed on his condolences to the family of those who died in the accident.

"As the tragic details emerge, my thoughts and prayers are with all the families involved," he said.

"Once again the local community has been plunged into shock with more fatalities at this notorious crossroads."

Sinn Fein councillor Ian Friary and DUP councillors Tommy Nicholl and Thomas Gordon, expressed their sympathies.

Separately, police confirmed that Patrick McGinn (21) died from his injuries that were sustained in a single-vehicle road traffic collision in Co Tyrone on Saturday.

Constable Michael McNee from the Collision Investigation Unit explained the vehicle had left the Ballygawley Road in Dungannon and was seen in a ditch at 2.20am.

Mr McGinn was taken to hospital but passed away yesterday.

Police are appealing to anyone who witnessed the incident or captured it on their dash cam to contact officers in Dungannon or the Collision Investigation Unit on 101, quoting reference number 220 of 25/07/20.

Belfast Telegraph