Northern Ireland

Teenager (18) killed in Co Down crash was 'generous, bubbly, likeable, popular boy'

Tributes have been paid to Samuel McCullough
Tributes have been paid to Samuel McCullough

A teenager killed in a road crash which left another six young people injured was last night described as a "generous, bubbly, likeable, popular boy".

Hundreds of tributes were paid to the 18-year-old, who was named locally as Samuel McCullough from Crossgar.

SDLP councillor Terry Andrews, who knows the teenager and his family, said he "would never have passed you without saying hello".

He added that the local community had been plunged into grief, describing it as "a very sad day for the Crossgar area".

Police said the teen was a passenger in a Peugeot 207 which was in a collision with a Volkswagen Polo on the Coily Hill Road near Killyleagh, Co Down shortly after midnight yesterday.

Six other young people, four males and two females, were injured and taken to hospital.

The young man's mother last night wrote of her devastation in a post on social media.

She said: "Can't believe I'm having to write this, my beautiful son Samuel tragically passed away in the early hours this morning.

"Our hearts are absolutely broken - we'll love & miss you always & your memory will forever live on, sleep tight son."

Family and friends last night gathered in the village to release balloons in memory of the former pupil at St Colmcille's High School.

Principal Seamus Hanna said the school community were deeply saddened by the tragic news.

"Samuel was a past pupil who alongside his twin sister Catherine came through the school," he said.

"Staff are in shock. Samuel was a generous, bubbly, likeable, popular boy.

"He was kind and funny and when we were remembering him this morning, a moment that sprang to mind was when he came to school in his Christmas jumper and he had attached fairy lights to it.

"He was generous and thoughtful and our hearts go out to his family.

"We are a community school and sit at the heart of the community, we are very saddened by Samuel's death and are thinking about his family.

"The entire school community is feeling this."

Mr Andrews said: "My heart goes out to Sam's family, words cannot describe the pain they must be going through.

"Everybody I have been speaking to have been shocked, this is a very sad day for the Crossgar area.

"There are also his friends who I'm sure are dumbstruck by what has happened and my thoughts and prayers are also with those injured.

"I have known the family for years, I have known Sam since childhood, he would never have passed you without saying hello.

"Over the coming days it's going to be hard, especially with coronavirus and government regulations meaning people may not be able to get together physically, but we will be thinking about them."

DUP councillor William Walker said: "I would like to send my heartfelt sympathies to the family of this young man at this very sad time.

"This is another death on our roads, a young man just 18, who had his whole life in front of him.

"I appeal to young people to drive carefully and take care."

Alliance councillor Patrick Brown said he was "horrified to hear of this terrible car crash".

"My thoughts are with the loved ones of the deceased and those injured in the crash.

"I hope they make a full recovery from this incident, which has led to yet another young person losing their life on our roads."

Friends also posted their tributes, with one pal describing the teenager as the "brightest angel above them all" and another writing: "So heartbreaking that your life was taking to soon - will miss you".

A message from the teenager's former primary school, St Joseph’s, also said it extended "our sincere condolences to the McCullough family at this very sad and tragic time on the loss of Samuel".

Meanwhile a man in his early thirties has died after his car was involved in a crash with a lorry on the M1 near Dundalk, Co Louth.

The lorry driver, who was not injured, was arrested following the fatal collision at around 5am yesterday.

Gardaí appealed for any witnesses and anyone who may have dash-cam footage of the crash to contact officers.