A WOMAN killed in a hit-and-run was preparing to get married – and had been window shopping for wedding dresses a few hours before the tragedy.
Mum-of-one Laura Connolly, 34, was knocked down as she was returning from a night out in Co Donegal with friends at around 2.45am in early hours of Sunday morning.
Her devastated partner Joe McCullagh and their young son Jamie were being consoled by family and friends.
The couple, who were teenage sweethearts, were due to tie the knot next year.
Laura, from the border village of Lifford, had been out browsing dresses in nearby Strabane earlier in the day and decided to go out with friends later that night.
She was struck by a white van, which failed to remain at the scene, while returning home.
SAID GOODBYE TO PAL
Bride-to-be Laura had just said goodbye to a pal as she walked towards Townspark, in Lifford, on the N15.
She was rushed by ambulance to Letterkenny University Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.
Gardai had issued an appeal for the driver involved in the fatal crash to come forward.
And earlier today, a man in his 40s was arrested under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
He was being questioned at Letterkenny Garda Station.
A post-mortem is due to be held, with the Coroner notified.
The close-knit town where Laura grew up was left stunned by her death.
Strabane SDLP Councillor Jason Barr said his heart “ached” at the “devastating” news that his friend had been killed.
He said: “Laura was one of the most caring, outgoing, bubbly, mad as a box of frogs girls you could ever meet.
“If you wanted a laugh, Laura would have gave it to you.
“I called bingo where she lives last year and her nickname for me since then was All The 4s. A young life taken too soon in such tragic circumstances.
“My whole-hearted condolences go out to her mum and dad, fiancé, son, siblings, the wider Connolly family circle and her close friends. May God give you all the strength to get through this.
“I would appeal to anyone with information to come forward, this family will need closure. Rest easy Laura.”
And Laura’s heartbroken uncle Andy Connolly appealed to whoever knocked her down or people with knowledge of the incident to get in touch with cops.
He wrote on Facebook: “Anybody with any information in relation to the killing and hit-and-run of our happy-go-lucky bubbly niece Laura Connolly at the Lifford roundabout contact any of us with any details or even the proper authorities.
“This is a traumatic experience for everybody in our family, a very massive shock, of a girl so full of life.
“A son and boyfriend, father, mother and brother all left with the world turned upside down. If you know who this small van killer is please get in touch.”
Grieving Andy added that the entire family will remember the better times they shared.
He said: “Rip Laura. You’ll be sorely missed always. I’ll always remember good aul laughs we had. Rest easy from your maddest uncle be no stone left unturned.”
Local Lifford councillor Gerry Crawford said Laura’s death had affected the entire community.
He added: “The terrible news reaching into this community this morning has cast a shadow of sadness over a wide area.
“The passing of someone so young in such tragic circumstances will be widely felt.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, loved ones and her many friends at this most difficult of times.”
A Garda forensic team spent Sunday morning at the scene of the hit-and-run.
Traffic diversions were put in place for a time and the scene was preserved for examination by scenes-of-crime officers and also forensic collision investigators.
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Gardai issued an appeal for any witnesses to the incident to come forward.
Officers are also asking those with video footage, including dash-cam clips, from the scene and along the route Laura was killed on to make it available to them.
You can contact Letterkenny Garda Station on 074 916 7116 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 with any information.