Tributes to Portstewart man killed in Belfast crash

Tributes have been paid to a Portstewart man who was killed in a car crash on Belfast’s Ravenhill Road on Saturday night.

Jon O'Hara, from Portstewart, who lived in Belfast
Jon O'Hara, from Portstewart, who lived in Belfast

Jon O’Hara, aged 47, was a former pupil of Dominican College in Portstewart.

In a post on Facebook, the Friends of Dominican College Portstewart Association said: “Sincerest condolences are offered to the family and friends of Jon, past pupil of DCP.”

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East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden also expressed her condolences, saying: “Everyone who knew and loved Jon is going to be absolutely devastated by this news.

“To lose a loved-one so suddenly will only add to the pain being felt by those close to him.

“I didn’t know Jon personally, but people locally have only good things to say about him. His death leaves behind family and friends torn apart by this horrendous news.”

Another man also died in the incident and a motorist accused of causing the deaths of the two men appeared in court yesterday (Monday).

Adrian Ursu, 32, was charged following the fatal two-vehicle collision on the city’s Ravenhill Road on Saturday night.

Five other people had to be taken to hospital after the crash, which involved a Ford Focus and a Skoda Octavia.

Ursu, a Romanian national with an address at Doonbeg Drive in Newtownabbey, appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

He also faces two counts of causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving in connection with others hurt in the collision.

The taxi driver suffered serious back injuries, the court was told, while another passenger remains in intensive care at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Police said the case against Ursu is based on CCTV footage of his Ford Focus allegedly veering over the central lines before colliding with the taxi in the opposite lane.

A detective constable also claimed the defendant’s car appeared to be travelling faster than other vehicles on the road at the time.

Mr O’Hara was a rear seat passenger in the Skoda Octavia, while the other man who died had been in the back of Ursu’s vehicle. His identity has not been released at the request of his family

A preliminary breath test on the accused indicated alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the collision, according to police.

The court heard Ursu admitted drinking up to six beers after finishing work as a plasterer earlier that day.

“He spoke quite nonchalantly about consuming alcohol and then driving,” the detective claimed.

Defence solicitor Kevin McDonnell argued that no evidence of any alleged dangerous driving was put to his client during police questioning.

“He gave details of the passengers in his car, two of whom have walked away from the scene,” the lawyer submitted.

Disputing concerns that the accused could flee, Mr McDonnell argued that he has lived in Northern Ireland for five years.

Bail was refused, however, due to the potential risk of reoffending.

District Judge Mark McGarrity remanded Ursu in custody, to appear in court again on February 21.