Promises to cut road fatalities after 37 deaths this year so far

Muriel Wing's car is shown after colliding with a coach on the A1 dual carriageway near Hillsborough. Pic by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye �
Muriel Wing's car is shown after colliding with a coach on the A1 dual carriageway near Hillsborough. Pic by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye �

Senior Stormont figures have vowed to cut road fatalities after accidents left two more families grieving this weekend.

Muriel Wing, aged 65 and from Dromore, Co Down, died after a collision with a coach on the A1 dual carriageway yesterday morning.

A bouquet of flowers left at the scene on the Comber Road, Newtownards, where a motorcyclist in his fifties was killed in a crash on Thursday night

A bouquet of flowers left at the scene on the Comber Road, Newtownards, where a motorcyclist in his fifties was killed in a crash on Thursday night

A motorcyclist in his fifties lost his life after a one-vehicle crash on the Comber Road in Newtownards late on Thursday night. He is understood to be from the area.

Mrs Wing, a mother of two and grandmother, was an auxiliary nurse at Craigavon Area Hospital. She lived with her husband Malcolm near Dromore and was a keen horsewoman.

A close family friend told Belfast Live: “It’s such a tragedy for the family and the community. Muriel had a real zest for life and was well known and much loved.”

“I remember she had been in a similar accident with a coach on the same road previously and she was injured but made a full recovery. This time though it wasn’t to be and it’s hard to take in.”

Pacemaker Press 5/8/2016 (FB)
Nurse Muriel Wing who  died following a collision. 
Muriel Wing who is in her 60s died in a collision between a car and a coach  on the A1 near Hillsborough on Friday morning. 
Pic Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 5/8/2016 (FB) Nurse Muriel Wing who died following a collision. Muriel Wing who is in her 60s died in a collision between a car and a coach on the A1 near Hillsborough on Friday morning. Pic Pacemaker

Mrs Wing’s death brings the number of lives lost on Northern Ireland’s roads this year to 37 - a string of which have occurred in recent weeks.

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard, who has responsibility for roads, offered his sympathy to those who have lost loved ones and those who are suffering serious injuries.

“I am committed to continuing to work towards reducing deaths and serious injuries,” he said.

“And it is for this reason that I urge that everyone makes road safety a priority - by slowing down, by always paying attention, reading the road and anticipating the actions of other road users, never driving having consumed drink or drugs, ignoring the mobile phone and always wearing your seat belt, no matter how short the journey.”

Chair of the Stormont Infrastructure Committee, William Humphrey MLA, said he would lead the scrutiny body in a fresh examination of road safety issues when it reconvenes next month.

“I would extend my sympathy to all the families who have suffered the loss of loved ones in recent weeks,” he said. “I would say that going forward we would want to look at a joined up approach to these issues with government and police, to make sure that all we are doing all we can to minimise or eradicate fatalities on our roads.”

Mr Humphrey was newly appointed as chair of the committee after the May elections. “Come September when we reconvene this is something the committee will be wanting to look at,” he added.

Other fatalities and serious accidents in recent weeks have included;-

* Wilson Sherrard, a maker of loyal order collarettes, who lost his life following a two-vehicle road collision in Claudy on Tuesday. His funeral is today in his home at The Fountain, Londonderry at 2pm followed by burial in Ballyoan Cemetery.

* Gareth Wilson, in his twenties and from a rural area to the south of Omagh, died after the car in which he was travelling hit a wall in Cootehill, Co Cavan just before 6pm on Sunday.

* On Monday, July 25, work colleagues Lorraine Clyde and Michelle McStravick died as a result of a crash near Randalstown.

* Cyclist David Catherwood died after a crash on the A2 at Cultra on July 19.

* Also on July 19, Valerie Armstrong was hit by a scrambler motorbike in Colin Glen Forest Park, west Belfast and later died.

* 16-year-old Justine McConville remains in a critical condition in hospital in Belfast after being injured in a collision on Friday July 29 at Lurgan’s Lake Street.