THE Mayor of Antrim’s sister witnessed first-hand the horrific accident that left a 15-year-old girl fighting for her life.
Rachel White and her five-year-old nephew Noah were struck by a red Suzuki Swift on the Belfast Road near Muckamore Orange Hall at 5pm last Monday (September 3).
It is understood that the young boy was flung into a wall by the impact, breaking his collar bone, ankle and foot.
But his aunt took the full force of the impact.
“My sister had just driven past them and was stationary when she saw the car go past,” said the UUP man.
“She heard the impact and looked back and saw the young girl flying through the air.
“She ran over and it was a very distressing scene. She knew the youngsters and spoke to the young boy who was in a lot of pain.
“It was clear that Rachel was badly hurt too.
“An unmarked police car arrived on the scene very quickly so the emergency services were soon on their way.
“My sister went back to her car and went straight to the family’s home and told them what had happened and they went to the scene.
“She’s very upset by the whole thing. It was a very traumatic experience for all concerned.”
Not least the family, of course.
The children were raced to the Royal Victoria for urgent treatment - with Rachel’s condition described as critical.
She remained in an induced coma for a number of days while medics battled to stabilise her. Her nephew was released from hospital on Wednesday.
That same day, the family publicly thanked local people for the outpouring of support they had received since the accident.
Her brother Colin said they knew that she was receiving car from ‘the best people’.
“She’s going to pull through this. We are all beside her,” he said.
“She’s just one lovely little girl. We love you sis. You’re a wee fighter.
“My heart is lying beside you in that bed.”
Councillor Michael visited the family on Wednesday evening, after he told councillors at a special meeting at Antrim Civic Centre that both children were ‘in their prayers’.
“I know the family very well. I grew up just across the road from them in Ballycraigy,” he said.
“It goes without saying that they are all in bits. They know that she is getting the very best care, but this really is a nightmare for them.
“The young girl’s brother died in a road accident 14-years-ago. They’ve had their hearts broken before.
“They are really going through hell. The community have been really supportive, though, and I know they’ve drawn huge comfort from that.
“They also know that she is receiving world class care. Everyone is praying for her.”
Mr Michael also met the youngster injured in the accident.
“Thankfully he’s doing really well, considering,” he said.
“The bones will mend, but I think his family are a bit more worried about the bad dreams.
“They can count on the support of the people of Antrim in the days and weeks ahead.”
Police are appealing for witnesses following the accident.
Inspector Claire Gilbert said: “I am urging anyone who witnessed a collision between a red Suzuki Swift and a teenage schoolgirl and a younger boy on this stretch of road to get in touch with police - as your information could be vital to our investigation.
“Anyone who saw what happened, or anyone who has dashcam or helmet footage and was travelling on this road between 5.20pm and 5.30pm and observed the car prior to or at the time of the collision, should contact us on 101 quoting reference number 1007 of 3/9/18.”