An 18 year old man who was arrested following the fatal road traffic collision on Victoria Road between Magheramason and Newbuildings in the early hours of Wednesday has been released on bail pending further police enquiries.
The two men killed in the one vehicle collision were yesterday named locally as cousins Michael McDonald (21) and Aaron McDonald (19) from Donemana.
It’s believed the men were back seat passengers in the black Volkswagen Golf which was travelling in the direction of Derry. The driver and passenger sustained non life threatening injuries in the incident. Speaking at a press conference at Strand Road PSNI Station on Wednesday, Chief Inspector Alan Hutton said:
“Our first thoughts are with the families of those involved. This is a very difficult time for them, especially those related to those who have lost their lives but also the wider community who have lost two young men. The family have asked us to respect their privacy but we can say that the two young men who died were in fact cousins. This is very much a personal story. There’s nothing more tragic in life than to have lost a young life, a child. As the parent of a young driver myself, I think about these things and this is what parents fear. The knock on the door with this message. I would appeal to all motorists, particularly those who are young, to think about their driving and to act within the law, take care with speed and to certainly leave the phone within the glovebox.
“At this stage we want to find out what took place in the accident. It is currently being investigated and the scene is being examined. Our appeal is to anyone who was on the road and may have seen a black Volksagen Golf travelling in the direction from Strabane to Derry who can give us information and help us find out what took place,” he said.
Reacting to the news, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Councillor Elisha McCallion expressed her heartfelt sympathy to the families of the two young men who died.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the young people involved. It is a huge loss to their families, friends and the entire local community,” she said.
Mayor McCallion added that her thoughts are also with the two people who were injured saying she hopes they make a full recovery.
“It is important that the local community do all they can to provide support and comfort to everyone affected by this tragedy. This incident has put into sharp focus once again the need for us to do all we can to improve our road infrastructure and create a better awareness of road safety among users,” she added.
SDLP West Tyrone MLA Joe Byrne has said that the accident demands an urgent intervention from government to address safety concerns and significant changes to the roads infrastructure in this area.
As the parent of a young driver myself, I think about these things and this is what parents fear.Chief Inspector Alan Hutton
He added: “We need to urgently upgrade the A5 to improve safety and avert future accidents which shatter the lives of local families and send shockwaves through our community. It is imperative now that we see urgent intervention from government to address the concerns about the roads network in the west. Nothing else will do.”
Related: Two men killed in Derry crash