A Ballygally man says four tourists are lucky to be alive after crashing into a lorry due to the stop sign at a juncion facing the wrong way.
The incident, which involved four young French tourists, occurred at the junction of the Deerpark Road and Shane’s Hill Road on Tuesday July 26.
“I’m amazed that they walked away from it,” said local man Chris O’Connor, who was travelling behind the lorry on the Shane’s Hill Road when the accident occurred.
“We were coming down by the junction, the lorry had just passed it and the car drove straight out and crashed into the axel of the truck, lifted off the ground and spun 180 degrees.
“There was a lot of smoke and the car was a complete write off.
“I went out to check on them and tey were all in shock, they were four young tourists from Normandy.
“The guy didn’t know the road and he didn’t know to stop as the stop sign was pointing towards traffic on the Shane’s Hill Road, rather than the traffic coming from the Deerpark Road.
“Also due to the state of the road the markings which would have indicated a junction were harder to see.
“It wasn’t the fault of the truck driver, he was driving at a reasonable speed and had already passed the junction.”
Chris says he hopes that the stop sign was not moved on purpose as a prank.
“We could have been looking at multiple fatalities here,” he continued.
“If it has been done on purpose I don’t think they would have thought of the severity of what could have happened. It could have been the wind or a truck which hit the stop sign, although there was no sign of damage to it and it was turned exactly 90 degrees. The truck and I had slowed down behind a cyclist moments before, otherwise the car would have come out in front of the 40-foot cement lorry.”
Commenting on the incident, a Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “The Deerpark Road, Larne is inspected every three months and no defect with the Stop sign or the advance warning sign was observed during the inspection on the third week in May 2016.
“The Stop line was observed as faded and is currently on a works programme for repainting.
“A further check of this junction was carried out on July 29 2016 following a report of this accident and TransportNI observed that the Stop sign was in a correct orientation, i.e. it was facing traffic on the Deerpark Road.
“We can confirm that the orientation of this Stop sign had not been altered by TransportNI staff prior to or after the accident.”
A police spokesperson said police had attended a the scene, adding: “The collision involved a lorry and a Fiat car and occurred at around 3.30pm. There were no reports of any serious injuries and there were no arrests.”