Girlfriend of hit-and-run victim makes emotional appeal for driver to come forward

August 1, 2016

A woman whose partner was left at the side of a road suffering horrific injuries after a hit-and-run collision has made an emotional appeal for the driver to give himself up.

Joseph McGivern was struck by a vehicle on the main Carlingford to Newry road in the early hours of July 15. He and his girlfriend Zoe McAvoy had earlier been celebrating with friends at a wedding in Carlingford. As the reception ended Joe went for a walk but was struck by a car and left badly injured at the side of the road.

The 28 year old Banbridge man could only watch helplessly as another car ran over him a second time, dragging him along the road for a few metres.  Thankfully the second driver stopped and called emergency services to the scene.

Zoe said: “Thank God he stopped,” said Zoe, the mother of Joe’s two young children, 22 month old Ella-Rose and nine week old Reuben.

“If he hadn’t, who knows how long he would have been there. He could have lay there and been hit by more cars or died before he got help.

“It is horrible to think that someone could just drive on. I wouldn’t leave a dog by the side of the road, so how could someone leave him?”

Zoe, who was still at the hotel in Carlingford, endured an agonising wait to get to her boyfriend after he was rushed to Daisy Hill Hospital before being transferred to the intensive care unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

When she reached the hospital she discovered that Joe had broken almost every bone in his body. He fractured a bone in his neck, had two broken vertebrae in his back, his pelvis was broken, he had fractured his chest bone and a few ribs, and both his legs were broken.

The father-of-two also suffered internal bleeding that led to further complications and he has undergone a number of emergency surgeries over the last two weeks. Joe, who is a tiler, has been moved to a high dependency ward where he faces a long road to recovery and an uncertain future – as he may never work again due to his injuries.

Friends and family have rallied round to help the young family, who have been devastated by the collision, with Zoe now splitting her time between their two infant children and hospital.

In the midst of her turmoil, Zoe penned a moving and emotional online plea to the hit-and-run driver to give himself up.  The post has been shared thousands of times and while Zoe hopes it may prick the conscience of the person responsible, the family are also appealing to witnesses or anyone with information to bring it to the police.

The online letter reads:

“Dear hit & run driver, When you hit Joseph and left him to die on the road, did you think about him lying there?

“Did you realise that he was so broken he could only lie there and watch as a second vehicle ran him over again??

“When you got up the next morning and went to have your breakfast did you think about him lying in the hospital with horrific leg and pelvis injuries?

“When you swallowed your breakfast did you think about him with lots of internal bleeding and a crushed chest? When you got back into your car that morning did you think about him lying there with a broken back?

“When you drove to work did you look around at the view? Joseph couldn’t because you broke his neck. Joseph has a daughter of 22 months and a son at 10 weeks old but he isn’t like you because he can’t work now to provide for his family and he will not work for a long time. I want you to keep thinking about Joseph and his wee family every time you close your eyes. Our blessing has been that Joseph has no brain damage and he can remember quite a bit of what happened that night and we have been told that what he cannot remember now will come back to him.

“May I suggest you ease your conscience and his family’s pain by handing yourself into the police before they come to your door as they did to his mother’s.”

Zoe has been touched by the support from so many people who have shared the post but, sadly, no one has come forward to claim responsibility or with any information on the incident.

“This has been very difficult and we just want someone to come forward,” Zoe said. “There has to be someone who knows something about what happened. The driver might have told someone or even someone who saw damage to a vehicle or anything that can help. I would just like them to go to the police and that bit of information could help find who did this.”

A spokesman for An Garda Siochana said they were continuing to investigate the incident, which occurred at around 3.50am on July 15 at North Commons, Carlingford.  The spokesman confirmed no arrests have been made and appealed to anyone with information to contact Garda at Carlingford station on 042 9373102, or the Garda Confidential Line is 1800 666 111.