The mother-in-law of a woman killed when her car struck a wandering horse over 20 years ago has said she was devastated to hear a man died in similar circumstances yesterday just yards from the same spot.
Lois Marshall, aged in her 20s, had been travelling back from delivering Christmas presents in 1991 when she suffered brain damage in the accident near Omagh. She died on Boxing Day that year.
Just after midnight on Tuesday, a Renault Scenic car carrying five men, believed to be foreign nationals all returning from work, struck a horse on the A5 Doogary Road.
One of the men died at the scene, another was reported to be in a serious but stable condition in hospital, while three others were treated for non life-threatening injuries.
Lois’s mother-in-law Florence said she had been deeply saddened to hear of yesterday’s crash and was reminded of the tragedy that struck her own family back in 1991.
“Lois is never far from our minds but when I heard the news, well, it just hit me again,” Florence told the News Letter. “It just felt fresh, that awful shock.”
It is understood there are a number of horses in fields alongside the road – although it is not known whether these animals were involved.
“It concerns us of course,” said Florence.
“Nothing was done when Lois passed away. Nothing was done to curtail this or prevent it happening again.”
UUP councillor Allan Rainey said horses were an issue that needs addressed – and that it will be raised at the next meeting of Omagh council.
“We will most certainly be taking this issue up to see if the horses can be identified and something can be done to stop this awful tragedy happening for a third time.”
Councillor Rainey said his thoughts are with all those involved in the two incidents.
Independent councillor Patrick McGowan said horses were a danger “on that road” and his advice to owners would be to ensure horses are in secure fields with secure gates.
“That is for the sake of the lives of passing motorists,” he said.
SDLP MLA Joe Byrne said the accident had strengthened his resolve to ensure the stalled A5 Omagh bypass development goes ahead.
In April 2012, responsibilty for horses transferred from the USPCA to council welfare officers, but a spokeswoman for Omagh council said no complaints about abandoned horses on that road had been made to them.
Police have appealed for the owner of the horse to come forward.