Northern Ireland

Teenage boy dies after 'hit and run' accident in Coleraine

Reece Meenan would have celebrated his 14th birthday next week. Image copyright Eoghan Rua Gaa Club
Image caption Reece Meenan would have celebrated his 14th birthday next week

A teenage boy has died in hospital after he was knocked down in a hit and run in Coleraine.

He was Reece Meenan, 13, from the Coleraine area.

The incident happened on Newbridge Road at about 18:30 GMT on Saturday. Police said the car failed to stop at the scene and it was found several hours later in Magherafelt.

A 23-year-old man who was arrested has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Reece, a third year student at Loreto College in Coleraine, would have celebrated his 14th birthday next week.

School principal Michael James said Reece was "was an extremely likeable and popular pupil" who "participated fully in school life".

"Two years ago, he was a vital member of the Year 8 soccer team, which won the league and this year was a key member of the Year 10 Gaelic squad, which is due to play in the semi-final of the cup.

"Reece was beginning to develop as a student and was carefully considering his options for the future, with his passion for sport at the forefront of his career aspirations"

Mr James said Reece was a "lively boy with a good sense of humour".

"He will be desperately missed by his teachers and fellow students alike".

Image caption Floral tributes have been left at the scene for "extremely likeable and popular pupil" Reece Meenan

DUP MLA Maurice Bradley said the death had caused shock in Coleraine.

He said his thoughts were with the Meenan family and described the death as a "great tragedy".

Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald said Reece's family had been left "devastated" by his death.

"Nothing anyone can say at this point is going to help with what they are going through," she said.

"The loss of a young person in such terrible circumstances is so difficult to come to terms with".

The teenager represented local soccer and GAA clubs in Coleraine.

On their Facebook page, Bertie Peacock Youth FC said Reece will be "sadly missed by all at our club, especially the kids who knew him best".

Reece also played for Eoghan Rua GAA club who described the loss of the "lively young footballer" as "untimely and tragic."

Police have appealed for witnesses to contact them.