An 18-year-old man arrested after a mother and her six children were struck by a car in Cloughmills has been released.
Eight-year-old Adam Gilmour, who was a pupil of Clough Primary School, died in hospital after the incident which happened as he walked to school with his mother and five siblings.
A PSNI spokesperson said the teenager was later released on Tuesday on police bail pending further enquiries.
North Antrim MLA Jim Allister said the woman had warned that her family would be ‘wiped out’ some morning on their way to school, when she contacted him last month to raise safety concerns about the road.
The MLA claimed it was “an accident waiting to happen” and criticised the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB)’s response to the woman’s concerns.
Mr Allister said he wrote to NEELB on her behalf, after she complained that the education authority “refused” to provide school transport that would collect her children close to their home.
“Three weeks ago, the mother involved in this tragic accident came to see me in my Ballymoney office,” Mr Allister said.
“She described how every morning she was having to walk six young children down a country road with no footpath into Cloughmills because the school bus wouldn’t come up the road to pick them up.”
In a statement, the NEELB said: “The Board had agreed to meet with Mr Allister to discuss the concerns raised in his statement.
It also confirmed that it had received correspondence from Mr Allister and had “been reviewing transport provision in the Cloughmills area”.
It concluded: “As a result of the road traffic collision the Board is focussed on working closely with the schools and the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.”
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said the village of Cloughmills has been left in shock.
“This is an awful tragedy that has left this small rural community of Cloughmills in shock and mourning,” he said.
“All that can be done must be done to protect schoolchildren in rural communities and lessons have to be learned from this.
“My thoughts are with the mother and young children who are in hospital and we hope and pray that they make a full recovery.”
MP Ian Paisley described it as “a tragedy on our roads beyond all comprehension” and said he had sought an immediate meeting with police to discuss it.
“Words cannot express the heartache that this accident has had and will continue to have on this family”, said Mr Paisley who appealed for the public to pray for the injured.
Education Minister John O’Dowd said he was “deeply shocked and saddened” to learn of the death of the eight-year-old who he confirmed was a pupil at Clough Primary School.
“The North Eastern Education and Library Board is working closely with the school to provide support. My thoughts and prayers are with the school and local community and everyone affected by this event.”
Speaking on Tuesday, Area Commander for Ballymena, Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley said: “Adam, his mother and five siblings were making their way to school this morning when the collision happened. His mother, along with four of his siblings, are currently receiving treatment in hospital at present for a range of injuries, some of which are serious. One child was not injured and is being looked after by a relative.
“There is a police Family Liaison Officer at the side of the family as the investigation into this collision is progressed.”
He appealed for anyone who witnessed the collision or was travelling on the Loughill Road from around 8am on Tuesday and may have seen the Gilmour family to contact the Collision Investigation Unit at Antrim on 101.”