A CALL has been made for motorists to take extra care by Roads Minister Alex Attwood after a teenage couple were among five people killed on Ulster’s roads in recent days.
Kevin Conway, 18, and his 16-year-old girlfriend Lisa O’Donnell died when their car collided with a tanker in Co Tyrone on Saturday.
It is understood that Mr Conway had just passed his driving test.
Their deaths bring the number killed so far this year on Ulster’s roads to 45.
This time last year 57 people had been killed on our roads.
Sinn Fein councillor Cathal Mallaghan, who knows the Conway and O’Donnell families, said until Saturday afternoon the young couple were looking towards the future.
He said the “terrible accident has brought their lives to a tragic end” and left the local community “numb with grief”.
“It is a sharp reminder of the fragility of human life and my thoughts are with their grieving families at this difficult time,” he said.
Kevin’s parents, Francis and Pauline Conway, live in Carrickmore while Lisa’s parents, Sean and Brigid, are from Loughmacrory.
David McAleer, Sinn Fein MLA, said: “The young victims were immensely popular and had a huge circle of friends.
“There are going to be very difficult days, weeks and months ahead for the families as they try to come to terms with this immense loss.
“It is important to know that the wider community are thinking about them and will be there to support them in the difficult days ahead.”
SDLP West Tyrone MLA Joe Byrne said the entire county was at a loss after the double tragedy involving the teenagers.
“This is just heartbreaking. A tragic, tragic turn of events made all the harder coming in the mouth of Christmas,” he said.
“Two young lives have been ended in the cruellest of circumstances, just as they were preparing to make their way in the world.
“The whole county of Tyrone is at a loss for this and it has made an indelible mark on the people, even further afield, coming so close to tragic deaths on roads in Magherafelt and Armagh over the past few days.”
Expressing his condolences with the families, roads minister Mr Attwood said: “All will be thinking of the immediate and extended families in each of the crashes over the last few days that has resulted in five deaths and such terrible loss and pain.
“This has been one of the worst periods for crashes and deaths on the roads for some considerable time.
“I again ask that all road-users are as careful as possible in the rundown to Christmas and the New Year.”
Andrew Higgins, 18, died after being hit by a car on the Monaghan Road, Armagh, on Friday.
Police believe the driver of a flatbed lorry, which turned right at a junction off the Monaghan Road around 4pm, may have information and have appealed for witnesses to contact them.
On Thursday, Colin Doherty and his 15-year-old daughter Hannah were killed in an accident with a cattle lorry between Magherafelt and Moneymore.