Pensioner left shaken after trailer plunges down slope into property

An image of the aftermath
An image of the aftermath

An elderly Tyrone woman was left shaken after a trailer carrying logs of timber plunged 10ft from the road and crashed into the side of her house.

Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Gillespie blamed icy conditions on the Gortindarragh Road, Galbally, for the accident last night (Thursday, December 28).

“This woman is 90 years of age and she lives alone,” he said. “She can’t be expected to sit waiting for something to come crashing off the road into her house.”

He said he had been pressing Roads Service to provide a barrier at the side of the property to prevent such an occurrence.

Councillor Gillespie, who lives about half-a-mile from the scene, claimed the roads around Galbally and Altmore are often left in a treacherous condition because they don’t meet the 1,500 vehicles per day criteria for gritting laid down by the department.

He said this policy has to be “seriously looked at” as road users, particularly local farmers going to fields and drawing livestock as well as residents, are being put needlessly at risk.

Councillor Gillespie said piles of grit left by the roadside to spread during freezing conditions were no use.

“The piles freeze solid and are as hard as concrete,” he went on. “Salt bins need to be provided in rural areas.”

He said Galbally is on high ground and often the ice could linger for days after it had gone in neighbouring low-lying areas of Dungannon district.

“I won’t be letting this matter rest, and will be keeping at it until action is taken,” he stressed.

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy has also been notified of the incident and will be raising it with Department for Infrastructure officials in the New Year.

A Departmental spokesperson said: “As part of the winter service, the Department salts the main through routes which carry more than 1,500 vehicles per day. In exceptional circumstances, roads with difficult topography carrying between 1,000 and 1,500 vehicles daily will also be salted. This means that 28 per cent of the road network will be salted, directly benefiting around 80pc of road users.

“Road users are advised to exercise caution particularly when travelling on untreated routes. We all need to be mindful of the changing conditions and adjust the way we drive, ride or cycle to ensure it is appropriate for the conditions.

“The best advice is in the Highway Code, take extra care even if roads have been salted and be prepared for road conditions changing over short distances.”