Road death victim, 13, was ‘lovely and bright boy’

Reece Meenan.

Reece Meenan.

A 13-year-old suspected hit-and-run victim was regarded as a happy and popular boy, according to a councillor who knows his family.

Reece Meenan was hit by a car at Newbridge Road, to the south-east of Coleraine, at about 6.30pm on Saturday.

Police said that the white car which hit him “failed to stop at the scene of the collision and was located in the Magherafelt area several hours later”.

A 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving causing death, and a number of other offences.

Yesterday the PSNI said he had been freed on police bail pending further inquiries.

SDLP Coleraine councillor Stephanie Quigley said the “terrible tragedy” is made even more sad by the fact it has happened in the run up to Christmas.

Reece Meenan was from the Coleraine area.

He was a third-year pupil at Loreto College in north-west Coleraine, which describes itself as a Catholic co-educational voluntary grammar school.

It is believed he lived quite close to where the crash took place.

Councillor Quigley has a son who was in the same class as him. She knows the boy’s mother, Vera.

She said that Reece had a sister, and believes he was a “lovely, bright, happy, very talented wee footballer – and very popular boy”.

She said: “It’s a terrible tragedy at any time of the year, but especially coming up to Christmas.

“To lose a child is the most devastating thing to hit a family.”

She extended her “deepest sympathy and prayers to Vera and the family”.

She told the News Letter that Saturday had been foggy and “murky”.

She understands Loreto College will be open today.

Gerry Mullan, SDLP MLA for East Londonderry, said the accident means the family’s lives “have been changed forever now because of what happened in a split second”.

Trevor Clarke, DUP councillor for Coleraine, said: “This is absolutely devastating news.

“Your heart goes out to the family concerned. It is absolutely shocking news to come to any door.”

The accident has happened at a time when the News Letter is in the process of running a campaign called ‘Drive for Justice’, which asks for stiffer sentences for hit-and-run drivers and others who cause harm on the roads through recklessness.