Northern Ireland news

Do the right thing and give yourself in, crash driver urged

Willis Vogel, who was 21, died in a road traffic collision on the Meenacloy Road between Castlederg and Ederney in Co Tyrone on Sunday morning
Marie Louise McConville

The family of tragic 21-year-old biker Willis Vogel has appealed to the driver of a hit and run BMW to "put yourself in our shoes and do the right thing".

Mr Vogel, from Limavady, Co Derry, died last Sunday morning on the Meenacloy Road between Castlederg and Ederney in Co Tyrone.

He had recently started a new job as a trainee engineer with Openreach and was riding an orange Kawaski motorcycle when it was involved in a collision with a black BMW X5 at around 11am.

The driver of the BMW failed to stop and left the scene.

The vehicle was later found over the border in Co Donegal, however, the driver remains at large.

Mr Vogel, a former student at Limavady High School, had been out for a morning ride with friends to Sligo and was returning home when the collision happened.

The Air Ambulance was dispatched, however, he died the scene.

Speaking to the Irish News, Rebecca Vogel said her family had been left "just devastated" by the loss of her younger brother.

"The only comfort we have is that he was with his three best mates," she said.

"They were with him right until the end".

The 26-year-old said it had added to the family's pain that the driver of the car had fled the scene.

"If the person could have stopped it would have been easier to forgive, however the way the person has handled things makes it a lot harder and a lot more unfair as a family to deal with," she said.

"Put yourself in our shoes and just do the right thing. He (Willis) was himself such a good person. If he ever did anything wrong, he would never have ran away and for this person not to be facing this, just feels so unfair".

And she added: "It was a hit and run. We want to make it clear that it wasn't anything he did."

Rebecca said her brother would be remembered as someone who had an "infectious personality".

"Everybody loved him from the minute they met him," she said.

"He was a big comedian. He was just a big personality. He was so positive, never negative.

"He was so confident and loved spending time with his friends and family. He was very caring and just wanted to make everyone laugh and was enthusiastic about life".

Rebecca said the family had been left "completely overwhelmed" by the more than £11,000 which has so far been donated to a JustGiving page set up in memory of her brother, who was laid to rest in Enagh Cemetery in Limavady on Wednesday.

All the funds raised will be donated to the Air Ambulance.

"He would have been buzzing to be able to give that amount of money to such an important service," she said.

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