Triple tragedy road victims were ‘lovely genuine caring people’

The three family members killed in a Co Antrim road collision on Monday have been described as “lovely, genuine caring people,” by a local councillor.

Paul and Varena Creelman.
Paul and Varena Creelman.

Husband and wife Paul and Varena Creelman died along with Mrs Creelman’s brother Phil Hegarty in a two-car crash near Cullybackey.

All three were travelling in a silver Volkswagen Passat.

Police said the male driver of the second vehicle was taken to hospital as a precaution following the incident at the Lisnahunshin Road/Ballyconnelly Road junction between Cullybackey and Portglenone.

Mrs. Creelman's brother, Phil Hegarty, who also lost his life in the collision.

Councillor Sean Bateson said: “Such a terrible tragedy to grip the community of Kilrea losing Paul, Varena and Phil. Hard to put it into the words, totally heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Creelman and Hegarty families.”

In a video message posted on social media, the Sinn Fein representative said he had called at the Creelman family home to find “such lovely, genuine caring people” stunned and “totally heartbroken”.

SDLP MLA Cara Hunter said the whole community around Kilrea and her East Londonderry constituency had been left deeply shocked.

“I want to send my condolences to the Hegarty and Creelman families, who are grieving today,” she said.

“No words of comfort will ever be enough to ease their pain but the local community will rally around them and support them in all we can.

“I appeal to people with any information or dash cam footage to please contact and assist with queries.”

Paul and Varena Creelman are survived by four grown up children and two grandchildren.

TUV councillor Timothy Gaston described the crossroads where the collision occurred as a “notorious” accident blackspot.

Two off-duty soldiers on a fishing trip lost their lives at the same crossroads in August 2014 when their car collided with a tractor.

Following Monday’s tragedy, PSNI Inspector David Anderson said: “I am appealing to anyone who witnessed this collision, or who may have captured dash cam footage, to contact us on 101 quoting reference number 591 27/07/20.”

SDLP Kilrea councillor Helena Dallat O’Driscoll said news of the triple fatality made Monday a “very sad day for Kilrea”.

Cllr O’Driscoll expressed her “deepest sympathies to the Creelman and Hegarty families,” and added: “I know that the people of Kilrea will rally around them...to provide every support”.