Town stunned as boy (9) dies in school-run lorry collision
A POPULAR schoolboy who was "full of fun" was being mourned by a small Co Leitrim town yesterday following a tragic road collision on a school run.
Nine-year-old Simon Land was killed instantly when the car in which he was a passenger was in collision with a lorry on black ice just outside Manorhamilton at 9.15am.
His mother Sarah, who is in her forties, was taken to Sligo General Hospital where her injuries were described last night as "non life-threatening".
The driver of the lorry also suffered minor injuries.
The mother and son were on their way to St Clare's Primary School when the accident occurred on a slight bend at Donoghmore on the main N16 Enniskillen Road on the outskirts of the town and less than two kilometres from their rented home at Ballyboy.
The car careered into a ditch after colliding with the lorry.
Emergency fire personnel worked for several hours at the scene of the accident to free the body of the victim from the wreckage.
Parish priest Father Oliver Kelly, who attended the scene, said that the town had been left deeply shocked by the tragedy.
"It was a terrible scene. The community is devastated. The car was very badly demolished. The mother was bringing the child to school in his school uniform at the time," he said.
School principal John Conlon said that the dead child had one older brother, Fenner, who was a former pupil of the school, and is believed to live in America.
"Simon was in third class. He was an absolutely lovely, kind lad who got on well with everybody in school."
The road was closed for several hours yesterday for a forensic examination.
A local business owner, who did not wish to be named, said that the town was in a state of numbness.
"I knew him well from coming in and out of the shop. He was a very mannerly little guy and very lively," she said.
It is understood that the victim's mother, who is originally from England, had been living in the Manorhamilton area for about 15 years.
A severe weather warning was issued last night with motorists being urged to take care over the weekend as temperatures were expected to plummet to -5C.
The Road Safety Authority said heavy rain will fall in parts of the north, Connacht and the east followed by freezing temperatures and morning fog.
It is feared this combination will lead to icy driving conditions and reduced visibility.