Tragedy | 

Tributes paid as three victims of Co Tyrone road crash are named

The collision happened shortly before 3.30pm on Monday on the Dungannon Road near Cookstown

Mark BainBelfast Telegraph

The three victims of a fatal crash in Co Tyrone have been named.

One was named locally as Jennifer Acheson, who was aged in her 80s. She was the sister of former Ulster Unionist MEP Lord John Kilclooney.

She was the driver of a silver Volkswagen Golf which was in collision with a red Nissan X-Trail being driven by one of the other victims, named today as Patrick Rogers, who was 26 and from Cookstown.

Mr Rogers’ mother-in-law Mary Duffy, who was aged 52 and from Dungannon, was also killed in Monday’s crash. His wife Shannon, and the couple’s four children, were also in the vehicle.

A death notice for Mr Rogers said he was “loving husband to Shannon, loving father to Alannah, Eimear, Dylan and Eli. Cherished son of Noel and Geraldine.”

The collision happened shortly before 3.30pm on the Dungannon Road near Cookstown.

Police confirmed the three deaths, and said a female aged in her 20s and four children were also injured in the collision and are being treated in hospital.

A senior officer praised those who tried to help the victims in the moments after the accident.

Superintendent Stephen Murray, District Commander for Mid Ulster, said: “Our thoughts are very much with the families of the people who lost their lives on our roads. Any loss of life is a cause of great sadness and it feels particularly tragic at Christmas.

“I’d also like to commend members of the public who provided assistance at the scene of this collision and our officers and other emergency services for their caring and professional approach in these very tragic circumstances.

“An investigation led by specialist investigators from the Collision Investigation Unit has commenced and I am appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time who may have witnessed the collision or who has dash-cam footage or any other information to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 957 of 26/12/22."

UUP leader Doug Beattie said his sympathies were with Lord Kilclooney and the family of all the victims of the “heart-breaking” tragedy.

He said more must be done to improve road safety, following a further accident on the M1 in which mother-of-two Imelda Quinn was killed.

“No words can adequately express how devastating yesterday was for those families affected by the road traffic accidents that tragically claimed the lives of four adults and left another adult and four children injured,” he said.

“Although the police investigation is at an early stage, it is clear we must do more to improve road safety so these deaths don’t become just another statistic.

“I also wish to pass on my condolences to our former UUP colleague Lord Kilclooney, who sadly lost his sister in the major accident close to Cookstown.”

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The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service deployed two rapid response teams and a number of emergency crews after receiving a 999 call at 3.29pm. It confirmed the Air Ambulance NI was also dispatched to the scene.

“Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, four patients were taken to Royal Belfast Hospital For Sick Children and another patient was taken by ambulance to Royal Victoria Hospital,” a spokesperson said.

“A woman was also taken by ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital. It is understood she suffered non-life-threatening injuries.”

Forensic officers are examining the scene, trying to establish the cause of the crash.

First Minister designate Michelle O’Neill also offered her “heartfelt sympathies” to the families of all those killed and injured.

Ms O’Neill said: “It is deeply tragic news to learn that three adults have been killed and a woman and four children injured as a result of this terrible road traffic collision in Co Tyrone.

“I offer my heartfelt sympathies to the families of those tragically killed and every best wish to those injured for a full and speedy recovery.”

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SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone said the community is devastated following news of the fatal collision on the Dungannon Road.

“This is the worst possible news any family could receive, but particularly at this time of year,” he said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected at this incredibly difficult time.”

Local UUP councillor Trevor Wilson also sent his sympathies to the families involved.

“Again, families have been plunged into tragedy on this stretch of road outside Cookstown,” he said.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the community will be with the families involved.”

Sinn Fein MLA Linda Dillon also extended condolences to all those grieving.

“There is shock and sadness in the community to learn that three people have died and a number of others were injured in a road incident between Cookstown and Dungannon,” she said.

“My immediate thoughts are with the families and friends of everyone killed and injured in this tragic incident.”

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