Northern Ireland

Victims of A1 road crash in County Down named as police appeal for witnesses

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Media captionPeter Hughes, Conall Havern and Gavin Sloan died in the collision late on Sunday afternoon

The three men killed in a car crash in County Down have been named locally.

They were Peter Hughes, 19, from Dromintee, County Armagh, Conall Havern, 20, from Crieve Road in Newry, County Down, and Gavin Sloan, 20, from Attical, County Down.

The crash happened on Sunday on the A1 dual carriageway between Dromore and Banbridge.

The red Vauxhall Corsa in which the men were travelling was in a collision with a black Volkswagen Tiguan.

A woman travelling in the other car was taken to hospital for treatment for injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash.

Personality

Mr Hughes had just completed his first year of a mechanical engineering course at Queen's University in Belfast.

Mr Havern was also a student at Queen's and was studying chemical engineering. He had just celebrated his 20th birthday.

Image caption Peter Hughes was described as "genuine, kind and friendly lad" by Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon

The A1 was closed for several hours following the crash but was reopened on Monday morning.

Mr Hughes had been head boy in his final year at St Paul's High School in Bessbrook, County Armagh.

The school's principal Jarlath Burns described him as "academically brilliant" with a "fantastic personality".

"He was one of these lads who had everything, he had so much integrity and was a fantastic role model," Mr Burns said.

Image caption The A1 was closed until Monday morning as police carried out an investigation of the crash scene

"He is somebody who left a lasting and indelible legacy on this school.

Friends

Mr Burns said that with pupils due to return to school later this week it was going to be "very difficult" because "everybody knew Peter".

Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady said he knew the Hughes and Havern families.

"I can assure you that Conall and Peter were very popular lads in the area," Mr Brady said.

Image caption Poor weather on Sunday meant driving conditions along the road were "atrocious"

"Their families, as you can imagine, are heartbroken at this devastating loss.

"My heart also goes out to the Sloan family. While I don't know them personally I'm told all three of the lads were good friends."

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said poor weather late on Sunday afternoon meant driving conditions were "atrocious".

She added that she would meet with police on Tuesday to ask if anything more could be done to improve safety on the road that is "well-renowned for bad accidents".