Police Ombudsman to probe crash involving police car

THE Police Ombudsman is to investigate the circumstances of the road traffic collision which claimed the life of 19-year-old Coleraine man David McKee.

Mr McKee was killed in the crash with a police car on the Ballybogey Road between Ballymoney and Portrush at around 4am on Thursday.

He was the passenger of the Renault Clio at the time of the collision.

A 29-year-old man, who was driving the car, has been taken to hospital but his condition was not thought to be life threatening.

Mr McKee's funeral took place at his Kenbane Avenue home at midday on Monday with burial afterwards at Coleraine cemetery.

He is survived by his parents David and Stella, sister Jennifer and brothers Calum and Shane.

Following the crash the Police Ombudsman's office was notified and the area was closed-off while officers and forensics teams examined the scene for several hours.

Details of what caused the crash have yet to be confirmed, pending an investigation by the Ombudsman Al Hutchinson.

However it's thought that the police car collided with the Renault as it attempted to do a u-turn on the road.

A policeman and a policewoman are also understood to have sustained non-life threatening injuries during the incident.

Detectives haven't yet confirmed if the police car had been pursuing the vehicle when the crash happened.

But they said that the Renault Clio had not been stolen.

Reports emerged last week that following the smash a Police Ombudsman investigator visited a woman who was working as a cleaner in a Coleraine bank to tell her that her partner had been killed in the accident.

An Ombudsman spokesman confirmed the wrong woman had initially been told the tragic news.

"We were given the name of a person and in the process of checking we went to the bank and spoke to someone," he said.

"She was very quickly able to tell us her partner wasn't killed in the accident."

Former police traffic inspector, councillor Barney Fitzpatrick, called for a full enquiry into how the crash happened.

Extending his sympathies to the McKee family, he added: "This must be an absolutely terrible time for the family of the man who died and it's also terrible for person who was driving the police car.

"Another life has been tragically lost on the roads this year. There needs to be a full and open enquiry into the circumstances surrounding this crash because of the involvement of a police car."

East Derry MLA, John Dallat, said: "All road deaths are tragic and regrettable but one in the run-up to Christmas is particularly heart-breaking.

"I would appeal to all motorists to take the utmost care on the roads this festive season."

North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey said there had been a number of fatal accidents on the Ballybogey Road in recent years.

"Whatever the circumstances surrounding this specific incident - and I await the findings of the investigation of the Police Ombudsman - it is a tragedy for all concerned."

East Londonderry MLA, David McClarty added: "Whilst the precise circumstances of this incident are under investigation, any death on our roads is a tragedy, and results in the loss of a loved one by that person's family and friends."