TRIBUTES have been paid to the 35-year-old Toomebridge woman who died on Saturday – a day after her car was in collision with a school minibus.
Brenda Anne Kennedy, from the Creagh Hill area of the village, suffered critical injuries in the Friday morning crash and died in Antrim Area Hospital.
Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward as they continue to investigate the cause of the crash.
Black ice has been blamed by a councillor for the crash which happened at around 8.40am on the Roshure Road, Desertmartin.A number of schoolchildren were also hurt in the crash. A woman driver, a female school attendant, an eight-year-old girl and an 18-year-old disabled man – who were all on the minibus – were taken to hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The bus was taking pupils to Kilronan School for children with special needs.
Sinn Fein Councillor Brian McGuigan said Brenda was well known in Draperstown where she worked in accountancy firm W McGillian and Co Ltd and in her native Ballinascreen parish.
“She was very well liked,” he said. “In the accountancy firm she would have been dealing with a lot of local business people and farmers from the area.
“Brenda was a native of our Ballinascreen parish and was held in very high regard. Our thoughts and prayers are with Brenda’s husband Kieran and her family.”
Brenda is the daughter of Brendan and Sheila McKenna and has two brothers and a sister. Her father is the owner of steel engineering business BMK Steel Ltd in Draperstown.
“It was a really tragic accident. She possibly headed out that morning thinking the roads were gritted and they weren’t,” claimed Mr McGuigan, who believes the accident may have been caused by black ice.
He said: “It could happen to anyone. Once you hit black ice, the car can go anywhere.
“I would also warn people at this time of the year to be very, very cautious and mindful that you cannot just take for granted that all roads are gritted. In this case the roads were not gritted.”
A Roads Service spokesperson said: “Roads Service makes their decisions to grit based on the Met reports and sensors. Neither the forecast information nor the observation centre that covers that area indicated that the road would drop below freezing, nor did they show that the area did drop below freezing. Therefore no gritting took place.” The spokesperson clarified that the statement was based on road conditions on Friday morning.