Crash victim James still critical

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THE family of Rathfriland teenager James Annett remained at his bedside last night (Monday) as he continued to fight for his life after last week’s horrific road crash.

Nineteen-year-old James was the passenger in a car which collided with another car on the Banbridge Road. The driver, Gary Elliott, was released from Daisy Hill Hospital on Saturday.

But while Gary’s recovery has been welcomed, the Annett family remain in limbo with James’ condition described last night as critical. He remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and it is understood he underwent surgery on Sunday night.

The boys were travelling along the main road between Rathfriland and Banbridge when the crash happened at around 9pm last Tuesday.

The 18-year-old driver of the second car was arrested after the incident on suspicion of dangerous driving and was later released on bail pending further enquiries.

The entire community has rallied around the families since the smash, with prayer vigils being held each night in First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church Hall.

Reverend Philip Thompson said the crowds in attendance have been overwhelming.

“We’ve had prayer meetings each evening since it happened,” said Rev Thompson. “On Sunday night we had to move into the Church itself as there were at least 100 people in attendance. There has been an incredible turnout all week and that is providing great comfort for James’ family circle.”

The teen’s mother Ann and father Murray as well as his three younger sisters have kept a constant vigil at his bedside for the past seven days and Rev Thompson described his condition as stable, saying James is making “slow progress”.

“James’s parents are there most of the time and they are being really well-supported by the whole family circle,” he said. “They really want to convey their thanks to the community for coming out in support of them at this difficult time. They told me they want to express their gratitude to all those who have been praying for them.”

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