The father of a teenager critically injured in last week’s crash on the Mahon Road says his son is “coming on slowly” but it will be a “long process”.
Ronnie McCallen said 18-year-old Brett sustained two broken legs and a broken bone in his neck after the single vehicle collision last Wednesday.
Doctors had feared that he had suffered brain damage but tests at the Royal Victoria Hospital have come back clear.
Four of Brett’s friends were also injured in the crash and were treated at Craigavon Area Hospital, with one also since transferred to the Royal. They have been named locally as Jake Walker, Matthew Welshman, Linzi Hunter and Anna Forde.
Brett, who lives in Portadown, was one of the most seriously injured and was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital where his condition, which was originally critical, is now stable.
According to police, the silver Renault Clio crashed through a wire fence and ended up on its roof in a concrete yard. Ronnie has paid tribute to the Fire Brigade, the Ambulance Service and Lurgan GP Fred MacSorley who was the first doctor on the scene of the crash, which took place around 9.40pm.
Said Ronnie, “Brett was conscious and talking. I want to thank Dr MacSorley and all the emergency services for everything they did.”
He also thanked friends, neighbours and family who have rallied round with support, among them Brett’s friends who have been sending him cards and get well wishes.
Ronnie, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair-bound said, “Brett’s mum Debbie has been with him every day and so has his older brother Scott.
“Debbie has been supporting not just Brett but me too.”
Brett is an apprentice mechanic at Charles Hurst in Belfast - where his mum also works - spending four days there and one day at the SRC training centre in Portadown every week.
Said Ronnie, “He loves his cars. He keeps his shining like a shilling. That and hanging out with his friend is what he enjoys most.
“Brett is going to need physiotherapy but things are moving in the right direction. I want to wish all Brett’s friends who were with him in the car a speedy recovery too.”
The Rev Shane Forster, rector of Ballymore Parish Church in Tandragee, said he had been in direct contact with the family of one of the other young people, and understood the worry and concern that all the families are facing at this time.
He added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with all the young people and families affected by this terrible accident.
“It is a timely reminder to all of us to take extra care on the roads, especially now coming into the winter months.”
Local elected representatives have also said their thoughts are with the injured and have urged caution on the roads.
Alderman Gareth Wilson, who uses the Mahon Road regularly, said, “The Mahon Road is twisty in one particular section and at that point there are a number of houses, entrances and businesses including the new scout hall.
“The 40mph limit commences close to this point and perhaps there is a need for Transport NI to look at this section of road to see if any other measures can be taken to help in terms of road safety.”
Councillor Darryn Causby said his thoughts and prayers were with those involved in the accident, their families and also the Emergency Services who dealt with the crash.
He said, “This is a horrendous thing that has happened. There is a winding stretch on the road with quite a bad bend and I would urge anyone driving along that stretch to take extra care.”
Police are appealing to anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information regarding it to contact police in Lurgan on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 12/10/16.
Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.