The 18-year-old man arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving causing death following a fatal traffic collision in the early hours of Thursday morning, has been released on bail.
The two men killed in the one vehicle collision on the Victoria Road, Newbuildings have been 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 Londonderry.
An 18-year-old male and 16-year-old female who were also travelling in the car sustained non life threatening injuries in the incident and were discharged from hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
Speaking at a press conference at Strand Road PSNI Station this afternoon, 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 Volkswagen Golf travelling in the direction from Strabane to Derry who can give us information and help us find out what took place.”
Reacting to the news this morning, SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly said “There’s a real sense of shock and sadness as people wake up to news that another accident on our roads has claimed the lives of two young men and left others injured.
“Every single death is a tragedy but to lose two young people in this way is particularly horrific. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the two young men who lost their lives. As they grieve, the local community will offer our support. I also hope that those injured in the accident make a full recovery and I’d like to extend my thoughts to their families at this difficult time.
“I would appeal for anyone with any information about the crash to come forward so that the PSNI can apply their expertise and discover what happened here this morning.”
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.
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.”