Girl (15) fighting for her life after being hit by car on way to school
An investigation has been launched into whether a pelican crossing was working after a 15-year-old girl was left fighting for her life when she was hit by a car on her way to school.
The pupil had been attempting to cross the Upper Newtownards Road at Belfast amid roadworks yesterday at 8.40am when she was struck.
Transport Northern Ireland last night confirmed it is investigating reports that a pelican crossing close to the scene of the crash was not working.
They said the roadworks contractor was not working on site at the time.
It is understood that a patrol man was on duty.
Local representative Judith Cochrane arrived at the area shortly after the girl was struck.
She described how several parents of other children had rushed to assist the girl before the ambulance arrived at the scene.
"I had just dropped my own child off to school when I came upon the scene of the accident," she said.
"There were other parents helping her and an ambulance arrived pretty quickly.
"The traffic lights were not operational, but there was a patrol man nearby.
"People were really shocked, there were a lot of other children in the area at the time."
The injured schoolgirl was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital with head and leg injuries and underwent emergency surgery. Last night her condition was described as critical.
The PSNI arrested a man in his 30s following the incident. Last night, he was released on bail pending further inquiries.
Part of the Newtownards Road was closed for a time yesterday morning.
The road has been dug up for roadworks more than any other road in Northern Ireland - over 500 times in the last five years.
A spokeswoman for Transport NI said it was aware of the accident. "The incident occurred in the vicinity of ongoing roadworks. However, the contractor was not working on-site at the time nor were there any traffic restrictions in place," she said.
"Local reports that a nearby pelican crossing was not operational are being investigated."
Last June, a 10-year-old girl was knocked off her bike by a delivery lorry as she cycled along a footpath to Strandtown Primary School close to where yesterday's accident took place. She was injured but later recovered.
Mrs Cochrane said that since that accident she had spoken with local businesses and got delivery times changed away from the peak rush periods when children are going to or leaving school.
She said she has been approached by parents recently voicing concern over the long-running roadworks and a number of near misses where motorists went through red lights.
"There is nothing to suggest in this accident that that was the case," she said. "But I would just urge all road users to be vigilant during these busy times on the road. Not just motorists, but also pedestrians and children when there are a lot of parked cars and busy traffic."
Inspector Barry Black has appealed to anyone who witnessed the collision to contact police.