A young pedestrian who was killed in a crash in west Belfast has been described as a “gem” by her former school principal.
Lucy McIlhatton (24) died on the Upper Springfield Road — exactly one year after teenager Eoin Hamill (13) was also killed in a traffic collision in the same area.
On Monday a relative of the teenager passed on their sympathies to the McIlhatton family.
Ms McIlhatton was injured around 9pm on Sunday in an incident involving a silver Toyota Avensis.
A 44-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including causing death by dangerous driving, driving when unfit through drink or drugs, failing to remain where an accident occurred, causing injury and assault on police.
On social media, a relative of Eoin Hamill said: “Yesterday we as a family were remembering our young Eoin on his first anniversary.
“Eoin tragically died on (the) same stretch of road, please accept the condolences of our family, God bless you all.”
Paul McClean, principal of Cross and Passion College, had previously taught Ms McIlhatton at St Dominic’s Grammar School.
Addressing her family, he said: “She was a gem — hugely popular among staff and pupils.
“I’m so very sorry for your family’s loss and also that people can’t call and pay their respects to you all, in the manner we would like to.
“Thinking of Lucy and you all at this time.”
West Belfast MLA Gerry Carroll said: “Absolutely tragic, awful news to hear. My sympathies with Lucy’s friends and family.”
Paul Doherty, an SDLP representative in west Belfast, added: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of this young woman following a road collision incident in the upper Springfield area of West Belfast on Sunday evening.
“It is every parent’s worst nightmare to receive news like this and my thoughts are with the family at this very difficult time. I know that this whole community will offer them our support in the days and weeks ahead.
“I would urge anyone who was travelling in this area on Sunday evening to pass on any information they may have to the PSNI which could help shine a light on the circumstances of this tragic incident.”
Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan said he was “deeply saddened” by the tragedy.
“This is heart-breaking news for the woman’s family, friends, loved ones and our wider community,” he said.
“I want to extend my deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the woman and offer them my full support.
“I would appeal to anyone who may have been on the Springfield Road to assist the police in their inquiries.”
Noting that six pedestrians died on Northern Ireland roads last year, the Sustrans charity also expressed their condolences to the McIlhatton family and called for extra caution on the roads in 2021.
PSNI Inspector Philip McCullagh has appealed for any witnesses on the Springfield Road at the time who witnessed the collision, or captured footage of the incident on dashcam, to contact officers in Woodbourne or the Collision Investigation Unit on 101 quoting reference 1554 for January 3, 2021.
You can also submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/.